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What happens if you cannot pay child support?

If you have received a requirement from the state of California to pay child support payments to your ex, you are under legal obligation to be timely and consistent with following through. However, what happens if you reach a point where you are unable to continue making payments due to financial hardship or unexpected life events? Understanding how to go about disclosing your inability is imperative to avoid dangerous consequences. 

While it may seem relatively simple to just skip a couple of payments while you cannot feasibly pay what is required, this misstep has the potential to create a lot of problems that could leave you worse off than you are right now. As such, even telling only your ex that you cannot make payments is generally not enough. According to Money Crashers, as soon as you realize that you cannot make payments, notify the court right away. Be honest when you discuss what is preventing you from having enough funding available. 

Generally, there may be options to temporarily suspend the order until you reach a point where you can resume making payments. If you ignore the issue and do not tell anyone that you are not paying child support, some of the consequences are as serious as having your tax refund intercepted, having your driver's license suspended and even jail time. As such, it is critical that you are prompt in disclosing your inability to pay before it spirals into a prolonged and significant issue. 

The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.  

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