Parents in New York and throughout the country who don’t pay child support aren’t necessarily doing so out of spite or neglect. In some cases, they simply can’t afford to pay some or all of what they owe each month. One parent said that she was required to make payments despite the fact that she was disabled and couldn’t work. According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2015, only 45% of custodial parents received what they were owed.

Noncustodial parents who have legitimate hardships can petition the child support enforcement office in their state to modify their current orders. A judge will review the motion and determine if a change in a parent’s circumstances warrants a modification. A change in circumstance could occur if a parent experiences a change of income or incurs unexpected medical expenses. It is important to note that custodial and noncustodial parents alike can ask that an order be changed in some way.

Custodial parents may believe that they need more assistance if a child has special needs or changing needs as he or she gets older. Regardless of why a parent wants to change a child support order, it is important to do so through the courts. This is because there is a chance that a court will not honor the agreement.

A person who is unable to make a child support payment on time may be fined or face other penalties. A family law attorney may be able to help a parent convince a judge that he or she should be given new child support payment terms. Those terms may either be permanent or temporary depending on a parent’s financial or medical circumstances. An attorney may also help a parent create a plan to take care of past due child support.