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Beware the Bradley Amendment if You are Behind in Child Support Payments


I recently had a father ask a question on the Divorce Support Forum. The subject was Child Support and Visitation.

This father had lost his job and fallen behind on his child support payments. In retaliation his ex is threatening to not allow him visitation with his child.

What bothered me most about the situation this father is in is the fact that he has failed to take steps to protect himself legally. He is in a precarious situation financially and ignorance may end up costing him whether he can afford to pay or not.

If you are a non-custodial parent, have lost your job and can’t afford you current, court ordered child support payment get thee to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney contact your court clerk and file pro se for a modification of the child support order based on a substantial change of circumstance.

Why? Because a 1986 federal law called the Bradley Amendment prohibits retroactive reduction of alleged child support. In other words, if you lose your job in June but wait until September to take legal steps to have the child support reduced you are still going to be responsible for the full amount owed during July and August.

A custodial parent can’t withhold visitation if you aren’t paying child support. Child support and visitation are tow entirely different legal issues. A custodial parent can however take you to court for contempt of court if you do not continue to pay the amount of child support you are ordered to pay.

If you’ve lost your job or had your income decreased take the steps needed to protect yourself. I’ve addressed this issue before on my blog. For some reason though I continue to hear from non-custodial parents who don’t seem to understand that until that court order is changed and child support modified they are responsible in the eyes of the law.

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