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Few in New Jersey and across the country have remained unaffected by the recent unprecedented world events. With businesses closing and workers facing layoffs, the struggle to make ends meet is real. Those with children may be feeling the pinch especially hard, and making child support payments on time may be even more difficult than usual. What should a parent do when he or she is no longer able to pay the court-ordered amount of child support?

Perhaps the worst mistake a parent can make is to stop paying child support when things get tough. This can lead to long-term financial and legal issues that can affect many areas of life. Instead, with the help of an attorney, seeking a modification of one’s child support order may be advisable. By petitioning the court to reduce or suspend one’s support amount, one may find at least temporary relief when financial circumstances become overwhelming.

It is important that parents not abuse this option or request a modification for frivolous reasons since the courts often allow modifications only once every few years. Parents requesting a modification should also expect that the court will carefully investigate the claim of hardship before granting a request that will reduce the amount of support a child will receive. It is wise for someone asking for a modification to be prepared to demonstrate the reasons for the request and the efforts he or she has made to continue paying despite the hardships.

When money gets tight, child support amounts do not fluctuate. Those in New Jersey who are struggling to make those child support payments must understand how carefully the government protects the financial well-being of children. Therefore, it is wise to seek a legal ally in a skilled family law attorney who has experience with all matters related to child support and modifications.