How to legally avoid paying child support

As a parent (biological or adoptive), you are legally and ethically responsible for taking care of your child until he becomes self-sufficient. You can be ordered to pay a specified amount of child support each month, based upon your income, if you are the non-custodial parent.

To a smaller extent, custodial parents may sometimes be required to pay, depending on the circumstances. As with any rule, there are exceptions, and you may be exempt from paying child support, provided you meet certain conditions.

Find an attorney who is experienced in all aspects of family law, including legal separation, divorce, child custody, visitation and child support. Since odds are traditionally stacked against you, take some extra time to search for an attorney who's going to aggressively work for you, as the non-custodial parent, to make sure your rights and interests are protected.

Seek free legal representation from your local legal aid office, if you cannot afford an attorney. If your case is being handled by your state's child support enforcement agency, contact them to discuss your situation. Find out what evidence you need to present for the court or agency's review.

Submit a formal motion to modify (or in this case, stop) child support payments, to the court or agency that is handling your case. Explain in detail what led you to the point where you are unable to provide for your child, and show solid proof.

File for joint physical custody of the child, but do so because you genuinely want to be a part of his life, not because you want to get out of paying child support when you are otherwise able to do so. The judge or agency will take into account your ongoing relationship with the child, including past relations.

Prepare to fully substantiate your claims and present your case in court, if necessary. Speak clearly and answer all questions honestly and to the best of your recollection. Come prepared, dressed neatly, well-rested and organised on the day of the hearing.