Most California parents who are ordered to pay child support do what they can to make those payments on time for the sake of their children. However, there are instances when a parent may suddenly become disabled, preventing him or her from working and earning a regular income. While the noncustodial parent’s obligation for providing child support will not suddenly cease, he or she may not be able to provide reliable child support.

There are several things that a custodial parent should consider if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled. First, it’s important to determine if the noncustodial parent has disability insurance benefits. If the parent is covered, he or she should be expected to continue to pay child support. If there is no coverage, the disabled parent may seek a modification of the child support order so that the payments reflect his or her new income level.

Second, it should be determined if the noncustodial parent’s disability is temporary or permanent. If it is temporary, any modification made to the child support order should also be temporary. If the disability is permanent, the court may make long-term modifications to the payment obligations.

A disability can make it much more difficult for a noncustodial parent to make ends meet. However, failure to pay child support can result in serious consequences, ranging from having a license revoked, wages garnishment or even jail time. A family law attorney may help a disabled parent seek a child support modification order. Such a request allows a judge to review a financial situation and order updated child support payments that reflect the parent’s change in circumstances.