For most parents, the happiness and wellbeing of their children is their highest priority. Because of that, most parents in Tennessee are more than willing to pay their child support. Sometimes, however, circumstances beyond your control affect your ability to pay child support. That can be an overwhelming and frightening situation. It’s important to know what legal steps you should take if you find yourself in that position so that you don’t end up facing unanticipated consequences.

If there has been a significant change in your financial situation since your child support obligation was decided, you can request a child support modification. It’s important to follow the proper legal protocols and not just quit paying child support if, for example, you lose your job or have to take a pay cut. Even if you and your spouse agree to a change in child support, you still have to file and have the proper paperwork approved before it’s official. Some states have a time limit on when they will review modifications, such as every two years, so it only makes sense to ask for a modification if there has been a marked change in your financial circumstances.

Make sure you document any change that impacts your ability to pay child support. If you’ve lost your job or suffered a medical disability, you will need to show a judge the hardship this creates. In the case of a lost job or a decrease in income, you will need to document that you’ve tried to find new employment. In the meantime, try to continue making child support payments because you will still owe any unpaid amount and will be in arrears until a new order is issued.

Modifying child the amount of child support you owe can be a difficult process, so make sure all of your financial considerations are addressed during the initial proceedings. Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience. A lawyer who is experienced in family law matters, including child support and custody issues, may help you navigate the process to ensure the best outcome for you and your children.