A lot of work goes into developing a child support order. Nebraska courts must work out a monthly child support obligation, health insurance and an order to pay for child care expenses. Often, the father or other paying parent goes through a series of hearings in which they try to get the total obligation amount at a reasonable level.
After going through all that — not to mention any related issues of paternity, child custody and divorce — it’s understandable if the father doesn’t want to ever step foot in a courtroom again.
However, a lot can change in the life of a parent and a child after a child support order comes down. A child’s needs can increase, and a parent’s ability to pay can fall. An illness, a job loss or another setback can render the most carefully planned child support order unworkable. As the paying parent falls behind, the unpaid balance grows, turning into a serious financial and legal problem.
Nebraska can enforce child support obligations in many ways, including through wage garnishment. Unpaid balances don’t disappear when the child turns 19, if the parent declares bankruptcy or moves to another state.
The best way to avoid these problems is to request a child support modification as soon as an old order becomes unworkable. Yes, this may mean going to court again, but it is better to go to court to request a modification than to request relief from a mountain of unpaid child support debt. You probably won’t get that kind of relief. You probably can get a modification.
That said, getting a modification isn’t always easy. It can be crucial to have the help of an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can show you how to fill out the forms, and can argue on your behalf at hearings.