Disabled after Divorce – Does Disabled Spouse Still Have to Pay Child Support?



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Disability after the divorce process completes could lead to severe complications for the noncustodial parent when he or she cannot work or is still in recovery from illness or injury. The payment of child support is generally obligatory and a requirement of every state in the country, but the parent may petition the courts to lower or halt the payment for specific reasons.

Disability and Income

When a person suffers a disability for either injury or sickness, he or she may receive disability benefits through work or Social Security. This may depend on the situation and if the disability itself occurred while the individual was working for a company with a workers’ compensation package. When receiving benefits from work, the individual may acquire up to two-thirds of his or her average weekly income. This may cause some discomfort, but it may not severely harm living situations. However, with Social Security Disability, the individual may receive much less. Then, as a parent owing child support, this lesser amount could cause hardship.

What Is Hardship?

When the person going through disability is unable to make all payments or pay all bills, he or she may experience hardship. With child support payments owed, this could lead to a situation involving hardship because of the extra amount on top of less income than what usually comes into the household. Through the hardship, the parent’s quality of life may decrease. By adding in the child support on top of other factors, it could also negatively affect any children that come to the house of this parent during disability. The parent would have less time to visit and a decrease in wages to provide for the visitation arrangements.

Petitioning the Courts

It is important for a parent to petition the courts when needing to make child support payments affects the quality of life through hardship or other problems when receiving disability. It is crucial to petition for these changes before stopping payment on child support because the person may face contempt of court and possible penalties through jail or various other punishments. By explaining the matter to the judge, the individual may have a better chance of changing the payment amount during disability or halting the need to pay entirely for a short period of time.

Disabled Spouse in Recovery

When the individual is currently in recovery from the injury or illness, this could halt the child support payments where there is a lack of income or other money coming into the household. The parent or spouse may need to explain the matter to the other parent or hire a lawyer to present the matter to a family court judge. If the disabled person is awaiting a settlement for a personal injury case, this could also prevent payments to the child from the marriage. If the parents have an arrangement, it is possible to make alterations without the interference of the courts.

The Court Order for Child Support

No matter what the situation is, the parent usually has a mandatory adherence to pay child support when he or she is not the custodial parent. This ensures the care and assistance provided to the youth occurs along with money to the custodial parent to pay for items the young person will need. Some items include school supplies, but in certain households, the support is for food and housing. The court order will determine all factors when the two parents proceed through the divorce. These elements of the case usually involve an assessment of the financial matters and employment factors.

Once the judge rules in favor of a certain amount, this may require the noncustodial parent to provide child support until the total is complete or a once the youth reaches the age of eighteen. For some children, this time extends such as an adult child with mental impairments. If circumstances change, it is possible to petition the courts for a modification of the child support order for assistance. The parent will need a lawyer to appropriately present the case and help in defending his or her situation.

The Lawyer in Disability and Child Support

When needing to lower or suspend child support payments when going through disability, the individual will need a lawyer to help in the courtroom. The legal professional may also need to gather evidence to support the case and help to explain the hardship or lack of funding for a settlement or benefits to kick in.


Provided by HG.org


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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