California residents who receive child support may need it to meet the best interests of their children. If a noncustodial parent becomes disabled, it could jeopardize his or her ability to make child support payments. However, if a parent receives disability benefits, it is likely that a portion of those payments will be garnished and given to the custodial parent.
Social Security Disability benefits may be garnished to pay child support obligations. This is generally the only reason why such payments would be eligible for garnishment. Furthermore, a judge may also consider whether a disabled parent has any other sources of income when deciding how to modify an existing support order. As a general rule, a support order will be modified on a temporary basis if the disability is expected to be temporary.
If the disability is expected to be permanent in nature, the support order modification may also be made permanent. In the event that a disability lasts longer than expected, a disabled noncustodial parent must ask for an extension to continue on a modified support order. As a general rule, the modification should be requested before wages are garnished from a disability or other type of benefit check.
Even if a parent is disabled, the law takes the matter of paying child support seriously. This means that an individual will need to either seek a modification to his or her current order to pay or find a way to keep up with the order as originally constructed. An attorney may be able to help a parent obtain either a temporary modification or devise an alternate agreement to support a child that is suitable to the court.