Following a divorce or separation, it is not unusual for a non-custodial parent or primary income earner to find him or herself responsible for paying child support or spousal maintenance. These payments are meant to provide financially for children of the relationship or allow a former spouse the opportunity to transition from married life to financial independence. Unfortunately, no matter how good intentions are, individuals ordered to make support payments sometimes fall behind. If you or someone close to you is having difficulty meeting financial obligations, knowing how to handle falling behind on support payments may help avert disaster.

Talk to Your Former Partner

Ignoring a situation will not make it go away, so when you are going to be late with child support or alimony payments it is best to contact your former partner. Often lack of communication is more frustrating than the missing payment. Talking to your ex-spouse gives him or her an opportunity to prepare for the shortfall and may forestall an argument. When you talk to your former partner, document the communication, give a clear explanation for the delay, and do not make any promises regarding catching up on the support payments unless you are absolutely sure that you are able to follow through on that promise.

Contact Your Attorney

When the situation gets to a point where you are seriously behind in support payments and have no idea how you will be able to get caught up, talking to an attorney is always a good idea. An attorney can discuss your options with you and consider ways to handle the situation. Waiting until your former spouse or child support enforcement has initiated actions against you can make your situation much worse. Talking to an attorney allows you to be proactive and is often enough to avoid most major legal repercussions.

Explore Modification

There are times when post-divorce or separation finances change so drastically that it is impossible for you to maintain the payments that were ordered by the judge. Exploring child support and alimony modification options is one way to reduce your financial obligation and avoid major penalties. Waiting too long can cause your debt to grow to a point where you are facing penalties such as license suspension, tax offsets, bank attachments, and even incarceration. Modifying your support obligations gives you a chance to become current on your support without placing yourself in a financially and legally precarious situation.

Schedule an Appointment

Late support payments are something that you should always take seriously.  Even if you feel that your former spouse is working with you to resolve the situation, you should never take that help for granted. A qualified child support attorney can help you determine the best way to bring your account current and avoid future problems. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are able to provide you with the support and representation you need to resolve your current situation.  Contact our offices today to set up a confidential appointment at one of our four Atlanta metro area locations so that we can discuss your unique situation and available options.