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Getting child support when a parent becomes disabled

In many divorced North Carolina families, one parent is usually required to pay child support to the other one. The amount of child support a noncustodial parent is obligated to pay generally depends on his or her financial situation. However, if he or she suddenly becomes disabled, it could cause the child support order to change.

In many cases, the disabled parent's responsibility to pay child support does not go away. However, his or her ability to earn what he or she once did could be affected, leading to lower child support payments. The custodial parent should determine if the disabled parent has disability insurance. If so, it is reasonable to assume that he or she will still be making child support payments, although the amount may be less if there is a modification to the existing child support order.

If the noncustodial parent owed back child support prior to becoming disabled, his or her disability benefits could potentially be garnished. This way, custodial parents can get the child support they are owed, especially if the now-disabled parent has been dragging his or her feet. Further, Supplemental Security Income can also be garnished if the noncustodial parent is in arrears.

Child custody and support disputes can be difficult to resolve, especially if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled. If he or she does have the ability to pay child support but refuses, a family law attorney may go to court on behalf of the custodial parent to ask that the child support order be enforced. Depending on the situation, this action could result in the disabled parent's benefits being garnished. If he or she isn't able to pay the full amount of child support that he or she owes, a lawyer may request that the court modifies the order to reflect the change in the parent's income.

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