If you have not paid child support in violation of a court order, you may have to prove that your failure to pay was not the result of willful refusal to follow the court order. If the Support Magistrate finds after a hearing that your failure to pay was willful the case will be referred to a Family Court Judge to determine what the consequence should be for your willful
failure to pay. Therefore, the first step is the most important, to avoid a finding of a willful violation because the Family Court Judge can send you to jail if you willfuly do not pay your child support.
At the hearing with the Support Magistrate it is very important to testify and provide documents to disprove the claim that you are deliberately ignoring a court order. Obviously, if you have the money to pay the arrears in child support or a substantial portion of them you should do so. The most direct way to solve this issue is payment. Judges and custodial parents are most interested in child support being paid, so your payment is the best way to manage this problem.
If you truly cannot afford to pay past due child support the burden is on you to convince the Magistrate that there are legitimate reasons for your failure to pay. Examples may be the loss of a job, change in employment with lower income, illness and change of child's custody. If you have lost your job or your income has been reduced provide the documents showing what happened. If you are searching for a new job keep a diary of all of your job searching efforts. Bring your resume, bring your stack of emails and the list of job placement counselors that are helping you. Be prepared to show how you have significantly reduced your expenses due to these events.
If you are self employed, be prepared to answer questions about personal expenses that may be paid by your business.
Finally, begin making payments. There is nothing worse than a complete failure to pay any child support. Make an effort and be consistent with the payments.
These are not simple issues and almost everyone benefits from having an experienced attorney defend their rights. Please call my office so that we may help you avoid serious consequences and provide you with excellent legal representation.