Parents in California and throughout the nation who struggle to keep up with child support payments aren’t necessarily deadbeats. Instead, they are having legitimate issues providing for their children financially because of factors that may be outside of their control. For instance, a parent could have other children to support simultaneously or lose a job unexpectedly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 45.3 percent of parents receive all the support that they are owed.

A child support order could be modified if a parent’s circumstances change. Changes could include a loss of income or the fact that a child costs more to raise now than he or she did in the past. Unexpected medical expenses could also be a valid reason to ask for a support modification order. Parents should always have a judge formally change an order as opposed to agreeing to an informal deal as that may be difficult to enforce.

The best interests of the child are almost always the most important factor when determining a child support order. It is also the reason why most jurisdictions will issue harsh penalties for failure to make payments as ordered. When parents don’t provide for their children, it can result in the government having to do so instead. However, even if government benefits are available, it may still be harder to provide for a child in this manner.

Therefore, both parents are generally expected to provide for their children until they reach the age of majority. Parents who cannot afford their current child support payments may want to consult with an attorney as quickly as possible. This may help them learn more about how to get a support order modified and how to make arrangements to pay any support that is currently in arrears.