Parents in a divorce do many things that can make them lose custody or affect their right to make decisions regarding their children. So, if you are in a situation where you cannot afford to pay child support, you may be concerned that the other parent will be granted custody or can get the custody order changed, and your child will be taken away from you.
Most parents who pay child support usually think that this responsibility is what ensures their parental rights. However, child support is just financial support for the child and does not affect custody. Besides, some parents have difficulty paying child support but still have parental rights. That said, the other parent cannot keep your child from you, and the court cannot dismiss your rights based on child support alone.
What to do if you are falling behind and can’t make full payments
You should always strive to make full payments every month, which will prevent penalties. However, if you have lost your job or something changed, you can have the child support order modified to a rate you can afford.
Before you initiate the child support modification process, communicate with the other parent and explain the problem. Then, the two of you can file a petition to modify the support order. If the court agrees and grants you the modification, the amount you owe in child support will be reduced, and you can now easily make full payments.
Before you get this order, ensure to pay the amount in full every month, and if you can’t, try to pay as much as you can and clear the arrears even if the modification is granted to you.
You cannot lose child custody if you fail to pay child support in full. This is because child support and custody are two different things. However, it will be best to petition the court for a child support modification to avoid legal ramifications.