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What to do if you cannot afford child support payments in Tennessee


Learn more about your options when you find yourself unable to make your child support payments. Budgeting, state resources and special programs could help.

Only deadbeat parents fall behind on child support payments, right? You may be among the many parents in Tennessee and across the nation who want to do what is necessary to take financial care of your child but have found yourself unable to do so due to circumstances outside your control. What is a viable solution for you, your child and the other parent?

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Let the other parent know

One of the first things you should do is communicate with the other parent about what is going on. You may be unemployed, disabled and unable to work, or find yourself hit with an unexpected expense. No matter what it is keeping you from making child support payments, let the other parent know. That way, there is less chance of the other parent getting the wrong idea about you and considering legal action to get you to pay child support.

Look into state and nonprofit programs

Depending on where you live, your state could offer special programs for parents in your financial situation. For instance, some nonprofit organizations offer job training. If you complete training and get a job, a percentage of your child support debt could be forgiven. You could also have a portion of your debt knocked off for completing a responsibility program. Do some digging to see if any local resources can help.

Check with the Child Support Enforcement Agency

Every state has a Child Support Enforcement Agency. Specifically, ask about modifying your child support order. This involves some paperwork, but your current financial circumstances could qualify you for a lower payment plan. Give detailed and honest answers on all the paperwork, no matter how embarrassed you may feel. You can at least be proud of the fact that you sincerely want to take care of your son or daughter.

Tweak your budget

Even if you manage to have your monthly child support payment lowered, it is still a good idea to look over your budget for places where you can lower or eliminate expenses. This is a good idea for parents and non-parents alike. Note where every penny is going, and do what you can to do away with unnecessary spending. The money you free up can go towards child support payments, paying off other debts or into a college fund for your child. The possibilities are endless.

You may have no choice but to turn to a legal professional in Tennessee to help you get back on financial track in terms of your child support payments. Learn your legal options for taking care of your child and your finances at the same time.

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