After divorce, many custodial parents rely on child support payments in order to more fully provide for their children. These payments come from the non-custodial parent, and the amount is commonly determined by state law. Additionally, the court takes particular circumstances of the case into consideration. You may have gotten used to receiving the same amount of child support for some time, but now, a sudden change could have you facing concerns.
When the paying parent experiences a change in circumstances that affects his or her ability to make support payments, it is possible that he or she could seek modifications to the support agreement through the court. One such scenario that could warrant a change is if the paying parent becomes disabled.
Payment is still due
One of the first factors you may feel relieved to know is that the parent who owes you support still has to meet that obligation even if a disabling event has occurred. Of course, the amount of support and how that support is paid may change. As mentioned, if the disabled parent seeks a modification to the current order, you may have to get used to receiving a lower payment, at least temporarily.
Because the parent must still make payments, garnishment for non-payment could still take place if the parent does not meet this obligation. In addition to any wages earned, any disability benefits received could also face garnishment.
In some cases, if the disability will only last temporarily and affect the parent’s income-earning ability temporarily, the modification may only last as long as the disability. Once the parent recovers and returns to work, the support order may revert to the original agreement. On the other hand, in the event that the disability proves permanent and the parent cannot return to work or to the same work, the terms changed may last indefinitely.
While you may understandably feel bad that your children’s other parent has suffered a disabling injury, your children and your ability to provide for them remain your top priority. Therefore, if the chance exists that a child support modification could take place, you may want to speak with an Arizona attorney about your options, state laws and how you could potentially work toward the best outcomes for your children.