A California parent who receives child support might wonder what will happen if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled. If this occurs, the noncustodial parent might suffer a loss of income and become unable to maintain the level of the previous child support payments. That parent should go to court and ask for a modification of the order. However, a number of other factors may come into play.

The parent’s disability might be temporary. If this is the case, then the modification may also be temporary. Furthermore, even if the parent is unable to work, there might be other sources of income. If the parent has disability insurance, this can be used toward child support. Supplemental Security Income can also be used for this purpose.

In fact, SSI, which cannot be garnished for most debts, can be garnished if the parent does not pay child support. Disability benefits may also be garnished. For this reason, disabled parents who are unable to pay support might want to apply for a child support modification as soon as they realize they will be unable to keep up with their payments.

The child support amount is decided using a formula although costs such as health expenses and other mitigating circumstances are also taken into account. Any change of circumstances that affects a parent’s income may be a reason to grant a modification in support. For example, parents might lose their job. If they are self-employed, there might be a change in the industry that affects their income. Parents who do not pay support may accumulate interest along with the support payments, and even if a modification is granted, they will still owe the amount that is past due.