Child support is involved in many divorces, and the spouses need to understand that when they agree to this important payment that both sides hold up their end of the bargain. These payments are for the benefit of your child or children, after all.

Even though both spouses have responsibilities in the child support equation, the paying spouse certainly has a lot on his or her shoulders. The payments often amount to quite a bit of money, and the consistency and reliability of their delivery can never be in question. Why is that? Well, if the paying spouse misses a payment, it can trigger an unending spiral of issues that dramatically affect the individual.

Many people may not know this, but missing child support can eventually be elevated to a criminal act. If the situation does get to such a severe point, then the paying (and in-debt) spouse could lose his or her job as a result of the criminal charges, and it would make finding a new job after that even more difficult.

The criminal charges would require some money to deal with, all while the child support payments that were missed are racking up fees and penalties. And then there is the upcoming payment that must be made. On and on it goes. The cycle is clear to see, and all it takes is one missed payment for it to begin.

So, for paying spouses: realize that this is a serious commitment you are making, and if the situation requires you and your spouse to tinker with the agreement (i.e. the loss of a job or a reduced income) then you should talk to your lawyer about taking such action.

Source: New York Times, “Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.,” Frances Robles and Shaila Dewan, April 19, 2015