The obligation to pay child support does not disappear when the paying parent suddenly has a physical disability. California parents who pay or receive child support payments should be aware of their options in the event they find themselves in this situation.
Some individuals who become physically disabled receive disability benefits, typically from their employer. Any child support payments that they have to pay will most likely be modified based on the amount of their benefits, which is usually less than the income they had been earning before.
A court will also take into consideration whether a parent's physical disability is temporary or permanent. In cases of temporary disabilities, the disabled parent can ask the court to modify his or her child support order for the expected duration of the disability and may return to court to request an extension of the modified order if the disability continues longer than expected. Those parents with permanent disabilities may request a permanent reduction in the amount of child support they are required to pay.
Disabled parents who receive Supplemental Security Income and are obligated to pay child support should know that it can be garnished fordelinquent child support payments. This is also true for disability benefits that are paid by an employer. While the garnishment guarantees that some portion of the child support payments will be paid, the disabled parents can have some difficulty making ends meet with the remaining income.
Parents who are facing the end of a marriage should consult with a family law attorney for assistance with resolving issues that can be particularly contentious. The attorney may negotiate to obtain divorce settlement terms that are beneficial to the client.