The court recognizes that lives and circumstances change, but it must enter a child support order based on the details at the time of the hearing.
If you find yourself unable to pay your child support, you do have options. The California Courts does note that you should always try to make payments because there is a chance you could go to jail for nonpayment. It may help to know your options and understand situations that could help you with back child support.
Do not file bankruptcy
You cannot discharge child support in a bankruptcy. If you owe outstanding support, you must pay it, all interest and any fees you owe even if you file bankruptcy. The support will continue to add up and collection may occur even during the automatic stay of a bankruptcy.
Getting a modification can take time. You should make your motion as soon as possible when you discover you will have trouble paying your child support. Keep in mind, though, that you need to show that you have a significant change in your circumstances before making a modification request or the court will likely deny it.
Check into an automatic suspension
If you are incarcerated for at least 90 days, your support obligations automatically suspend. However, when you get out, the obligation starts again. So, you can avoid having support add up and incurring fees and fines if you are in jail or prison, but you will have to start paying once you get out, so you will need a plan in place to secure employment.
Do note that if you went to jail due to not paying child support, it will not go under suspension during your incarceration. However, in cases where you did have a suspension, you can ask for credit for any amount that added up while you were in jail or prison after your first days of incarceration.