Trouble Paying Child Support? Get Legal Help


If you're having problems paying your child support, you're not alone. It can be a big expense and the thought of paying out money for so many years can feel overwhelming, sometimes even maddening.

On the flip side, your presence and financial support is invaluable for your child's well-being. Without it, your child's life could be much more difficult.

That still doesn't make it easy. If you are having trouble paying your child support because of a cut in pay, a lost job, additional kids - don't just stop making payments! Talk to Warwick child support lawyer Paul Jr. Ferns to find out what can be done. He has been helping parents with child support problems for more than 15 years. He works hard to keep tensions low and cooperation high, even in difficult situations.

Get legal help you can rely on. Contact Paul J. Ferns or call 401-732-1110 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Avoid Child Support Payments – Legally

There are a few ways that you can legally avoid or stop making child support payments. Some are difficult, even extreme – but they are legal.

  • The custodial parent can refuse to accept child support. A custodial parent does not have to take child support if they don't need it. Usually this is negotiated at the time of a divorce or break-up, but it could happen at a later time. This option only applies if the custodial parent can provide for the child without relying on public assistance.
  • You can give up your parental rights. This is a drastic step. You would no longer have visitation or other rights. Some custodial parents ask for this if they have remarried and their new partner wants to adopt their child. That adoptive parent then becomes financially responsible.
  • You can seek more parenting time or full custody. If you have the child more of the time, you will have less financial liability. The balance could shift so that you are the parent receiving support. But if you want to avoid child support because of financial hardship, making the case that you would be a better custodial parent could be very hard to do. It may be true, though, and it may be worth trying.
  • Prison, hospital or death: Rhode Island takes child support seriously! You can stop your child support payments if you are in prison, in the hospital or dead.

Modify Your Child Support Order: Don't Risk the Penalties for Being Delinquent

No one wants to ignore their obligation to their child but when money is tight, parents sometimes think they can let the other parent handle it for a while. If you simply stop paying child support, you not only face punishing legal consequences, but your past due child support incurs compounded interest. Your debt will add up quickly. And child support cannot be written off in a bankruptcy filing. It's better to try to deal with it up front.

Punishments the court could order include:

  • Garnishing your wages
  • Confiscating your tax refund
  • Taking money directly out of your bank or checking account
  • Cancelling your passport
  • Confiscating your drivers' license
  • Putting you in jail

Don't risk it! You can usually avoid the worst consequences of non-payment of child support if you are willing to work with the court. Talk to Mr. Ferns about legal ways you can reduce (or end) your child support obligation.

Proving Financial Hardship

You can ask the family court judge to modify your child support order downward because of financial hardship, but you will need to prove that hardship. What counts as hardship?

  • A lasting and significant pay cut
  • Loss of work hours
  • Job loss
  • Medical problems and medical bills
  • Additional children (this does not always work, and your lawyer will need to present a strong case)

Mr. Ferns has helped hundreds of parents deal with child support problems and modifications of child support orders. He will look at your situation and advise you honestly about your legal options. Contact Warwick child support attorney Paul J. Ferns: 401-732-1110.

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