If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is crucial that you take that responsibility seriously. Failure to keep up with these payments can leave you facing some serious penalties including fines and, in some cases, even jail time.
However, situations do arise where people simply cannot make these payments despite their best efforts. This can be due to job loss, medical expenses and other significant life changes that can make it all but impossible to keep up with child support obligations. If this happens, it can be crucial that you act fast to seek a modification.
Support modifications can be granted to parents when it can be established that initial orders are no longer appropriate.
For example, actor Charlie Sheen filed a petition seeking a modification in his child support obligations, but so far his request has not been granted. He has fallen behind in his child support payments by about $89,000.
In statements to the media, Sheen has repeatedly protested the amount of support he was ordered to pay in spousal support to two of his ex-wives and child support for four of his children. However, at one point, Sheen was earning more than a half-million dollars every month, which explains why he was ordered to pay a total of $110,000 a month in child support.
In recent years, however, Sheen’s income has dropped dramatically due to his departure from a highly-rated sitcom. He also revealed that he was diagnosed with HIV which has lead to huge medical bills. Further, he says he was the victim of extortion by others threatening to publicize his health condition. That alone cost him about $10 million.
At this point, it is unknown if Sheen’s modification request will be granted. If it is, it is possible that a payment reduction could apply to all payments after his petition was filed in March. This would affect that $89,000 in unpaid support.
The lesson we hope our readers learn from this situation is that significant life changes can be grounds to pursue child support modification. However, timing is crucial, so discussing your options with your attorney sooner rather than later is generally best.
Source: People Magazine, “Charlie Sheen’s Ex Brooke Mueller Claims Actor Owes $89,000 in Back Child Support,” Aaron Couch, April 12, 2016