I Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support. What Can I Do?

Child Support
I Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support. What Can I Do?

October 31, 2017

Children have a right to receive financial support from both their parents. The state of Indiana determines each parent’s expected support contribution by looking at each parent’s gross weekly income, how much time the child spends with each parent, the number of children being supported, and the cost of child care and insurance premiums.

Sometimes, a parent’s financial situation will take a turn for the worse. Extended unemployment or underemployment, long-term disability, and other economic or medical issues can take a toll on a parent’s ability to pay child support. Find out what to do if you are unable to meet your child support obligation.

What to Expect If You Fall Behind on Child Support

When money is tight, make it a priority to continue to pay your child support on time. Interest, fines, and court costs make ignoring your child support obligation a more expensive option in the long run. If you are in danger of falling behind on your child support payments, talk to your child’s custodial parent. Most custodial parents appreciate honest communication, and may be less likely to get the courts involved if they believe you are acting in good faith. The Indiana Department of Child Services may be able to help you set up a payment plan. Keep in mind you will still be expected to pay your arrears in full.

How Child Support Orders in Indiana Are Enforced

The state of Indiana has several methods for collecting delinquent child support payments, including:

  • wage garnishment
  • seizing your federal and state income tax return, bonuses, lottery winnings, insurance settlements and other income
  • taking money from your bank accounts
  • reporting the debt as delinquent to credit agencies
  • placing a lien on your vehicle
  • suspending your driver’s license
  • revoking your passport

Requesting a Modification to Your Child Support Order

If you are experiencing a permanent or long-term hardship, you can ask the court to decrease your child support obligation. To qualify for a modification to your child support order, you must have experienced a substantial change in circumstances, typically an increase or decrease of at least 20% of your income. Overdue child support payments will not be cancelled or reduced, but you may be able to have your past-due arrears calculated into your monthly payment. Indiana does not assign a mandatory minimum contribution to parents without income. However, child support arrears cannot be avoided by declaring bankruptcy or terminating your parental rights.

Child Support Attorney in Fort Wayne, Indiana

If you need assistance modifying a child support order, the Bellinger Law Office can help. To schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney Robert Bellinger, contact our office in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Guidance for Families


Meet Attorney

Robert H. Bellinger



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