If you’re struggling with unexpected unemployment, you probably have no idea how you’re going to pay your child support obligation in the coming months. That’s a huge problem for a lot of parents, and it’s hard to know what to do.

Here are some of your options:

  1. Contact your ex. If your ex is aware of the situation, they may be willing to work with you until your financial problems are resolved. If they aren’t, they may assume that you’re just refusing to pay. That could prompt them to ask the court to take enforcement action against you — and that’s nothing you want to happen.
  2. Pay as much as you can. Paying some of your support is better than paying none of it — and it lessens the burden your child will experience from the situation. Just make certain that you document how much you paid, and get the appropriate receipts so that you can prove it later.
  3. Contact the court. You absolutely want to inform the court and other appropriate agencies about your situation right away. A proactive response is always your best option. If your unemployment is likely to last for a while, you may need to file a request with the court to modify your support order until you’re back to work.

California is fierce about enforcing child support obligations. If you don’t take affirmative action during this time, you could be penalized through frozen bank accounts, a suspended driver’s license or professional license, wage garnishment and criminal charges.

If you need help managing your situation, an experienced family law attorney may be able to help.