Your child support order makes it clear: You have a legal obligation to provide financially for your child. If you fail to pay up, you’re in violation of the law.
But what if you just don’t have the money?
A sudden illness or job loss can throw your finances in disarray and leave you struggling to meet your basic needs. If that happens, however, you can’t simply miss your support payment and hope that the court will understand — because they won’t.
In Tennessee, parents who don’t pay their child support can face all kinds of sanctions, including:
- Liens on their property, including their homes, vehicles and businesses
- The loss of their driver’s license and driving privileges
- Seizure of their bank accounts and tax returns
- Damage to their credit record once the past-due amounts are reported
- The loss of their passport or professional licenses
In addition, a judge that feels provoked could potentially sentence a wayward parent to jail for contempt of court for disregarding the court’s order.
It’s far better to address the issue directly by asking the court to modify the amount you owe. While the court will only entertain a modification order when there’s been a significant change in your finances, a job loss or illness that puts you out of work for a while are the sort of things that likely qualify for an adjustment.
If you’re about to miss a child support payment (or miss another one), don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance. Modifications of support are designed for just these kinds of situations.