When you and your ex-spouse split, you were working and earning a decent living. You didn't mind paying your fair share of support for the kids, and you had enough left over to support yourself in reasonable comfort.
Now things have changed. Your health has been declining for a while. In conjunction with your doctor, you've made the difficult decision to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
What happens now?
Assuming that you're approved for benefits, you're required to notify both your child's other parent and the state's Division of Child Support Services right away. In turn, your child's other parent is required to file for dependent child benefits on your record as soon as possible. Whatever benefits your child receives as the dependent of a disabled worker will be used to offset your monthly support payment.
What if that doesn't do enough to alleviate your financial distress? Even though your income has been reduced, your support obligation doesn't automatically reflect those changes. For your child support order to be lowered, you need to petition the court for a modification.
Typically, for your request to be successful, you'll need to show the court that you're not willfully unemployed and that your circumstances are likely to be long-lasting. If you've already been approved for SSDI, that likely won't be a problem.
Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to talk to your child's other parent if you're having financial difficulties that make paying your child support difficult or impossible. That way, they can prepare for the financial adjustments that may be coming.
If you're struggling under the weight of a child support payment that's become unwieldy, your family law attorney can help you make a modification request.