divorceDivorce HQ attorneys lawyers

Child Support

Child support by definition is a financial contribution paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent towards the expenses of raising his or her children. That seems pretty cut and dry. However, child support can turn into a major issue as divorces are often wrought with emotions.

All states have specific guidelines that are followed in the determination of how child support is calculated. Every state is different, but most states take into consideration the income levels (both earned and unearned) of both the parents as well as the expenses associated with raising the child in their calculation. That's a very broad example of how it can be calculated. Often there are complicated formulas and schedules that are used. Keep in mind that a judge has the authority to deviate from the guidelines if he or she determines that the situation warrants it.

Unfortunately, child support is often misunderstood by the payor, who may feel that the custodial parent is not using the funds to support the child. On the other side of the equation is the custodial parent who may feel that they are barely making ends meet while the non-custodial parent's lifestyle has barely changed. More often than not, they are misconceptions.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about child support:

  • Child support is money that is being used for the child. The payor may not agree with how the funds are being used, but that isn't their decision to make. The use of child support funds is at the discretion of the custodial parent.
  • Even if the custodial parent earns more than the non-custodial parent does, child support payments will have to be made.
  • Child support often doesn't include extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities would include such things as Little League, dance lessons, etc. If possible, both parents should contribute to these in addition to the court ordered child support. Often if there are specific, known extra expenses, their payment can be allocated in the divorce agreement.
  • Child support is not taxable to the recipient nor is it deductible to the payor.
  • Always make your child support payments on time, with pride in the knowledge that you are contributing to the support of your children. There is no room in child support for bitterness or anger at your ex. This is true for the recipient as well as well as the payor.
  • It is common in most states, and mandatory in others to have wages garnished for child support. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is such a common occurrence that there is no longer any stigma attached to it. Today most employers have direct deposit of payroll checks where the employee's pay can go to several accounts in the amount established by the employee. If this is available to you, you should try to make an agreement with your ex-spouse to have the payments made through direct deposit. This will be easier and better for everyone. First, the payer does not have to write a check, which unfortunately may be done begrudgingly when the payee is the ex-spouse even when it is for the support of the children. This will avoid that problem. As far as a record, your pay stub is your receipt. Secondly, the money will always be paid on time and will be available for immediate use.
  • Do not involve your children. Your children should never know the amount of support that is to be paid. All discussions regarding support should be handled directly between the parents. Remember to keep the children "out of your battles."
  • If you are not receiving your payments try to work it out with your ex-spouse. If this is not possible or is not satisfactory then it would be better to seek professional intervention such as an attorney or mediator.
  • Remember that you should never use your children as pawns in a dispute. If payments are not made or not made promptly, do not interfere with the visitation rights of your ex-spouse. Support and visitation should be kept as separate issues. While the financial aspect is important, it is equally important for the children to have the love and emotional support of both parents.
  • While payment amounts are determined based upon specific guidelines, they can also be negotiated. If you and your ex-spouse can reach a fair and amicable decision on what the payments should be, than all those involved will be happier in the long run. Why put the determination of child support into the hands of a stranger (the judge) if you don't have to. CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE AGREEING TO ANY CHILD SUPPORT ARRANGEMENT.

Payments will continue until all the children of the marriage become emancipated. Basically, emancipation is an act by which parents relinquish their right to custody and are relieved of their duty to support the child. Emancipation can occur upon a child's marriage, induction into military service, by court order based on the child's best interest, as stipulated in the divorce agreement or when the child reaches an appropriate age. Appropriate age does not always mean 18 as many believe. When drawing up your divorce agreement it is important to clearly state at what age or milestone (such as high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, or they become self-sufficient) emancipation will occur. If your children are young, you may not even consider this issue, but you should. An unclear agreement made today may haunt you in the years to come.

If you have more than one child and a child is emancipated the amount that is to be paid is recalculated according to the schedules and guidelines of your particular state. It is not a percentage of the number of remaining children. Let's say that you have three children and the amount of support is $300 per week. The new amount is not $100 per child, so therefore when the first child is emancipated the amount does not automatically become $200, it will be recalculated based on two children.

One last thought on the subject. Keep in mind that child support is for the children. It is to keep their lifestyles the same as if you were not divorced. Children should not be victims of divorce or deprived of a normal childhood because of it.

Additional Child Custody and Divorce Resources and Information:

Directory of Attorneys Directory of Mediators Directory of Divorce Services Child support enforcement Collecting from a Deadbeat Child Support Calculators FAQ's

Child Support Related Articles

Child Support - Figuring out how the parents are going to support their kids after divorce is an important part of the divorce mediation process ...

Child Support - Why Don't People Pay - One of the goals of a good mediator is to make sure the final child support amount is decided up and agreed to by both parents. ...

Child Support and Life Insurance-Supporting Your Children After Death - Many couples choose to secure their support obligations through life insurance ...

Child Support Modification in Georgia - In Georgia, child support orders may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in either parent's income ...

FERPA and College Contribution - New Jersey divorced parents who help pay for their child's college education are now legally entitled to review their child's grades/transcript. ...

Imputing Income for Child Support in New Jersey - It is quite common for the income of one parent - particularly a father - to plummet when marital warfare breaks out. ...

Modification of Child Support and/or Alimony After the Loss of a Job in Georgia - With the state of the economy in the United States today, it is not uncommon to hear that more and more people are losing their jobs ...

New Jersey Child Support Overview - Children are the innocent victims of divorce. They become the center of battles over child custody, support, and visitation and face losing the only lifestyle ...

Penalties For Not Paying Child Support in Georgia: License Revocation - Licensing agencies in Georgia can revoke or suspend someone's license if he or she is in arrears behind in paying child support for a period of more than sixty days ...

What Constitutes Full-Time College Enrollment/Attendance? - The connection between emancipation and what constitutes full time college enrollment/attendance was recently explored in the ...

Miscellaneous Divorce Related Articles

Domestic Abuse Orders for Protection in Minnesota - Domestic abuse is defined as any of the following committed against a family or household member. The domestic abuse order for protection is only available to the family and household members of the abuser. ...

Family Anti-Terrorism - A New Weapon in Domestic Violence Law - New York State Legislature enacted The Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act which confronts, and allows for the opportunity to acknowledge, domestic violence ...

Happy Life, Happy Wife - Did you ever hear the expression "Happy Wife, Happy Life"? ...

New Jersey Domestic Violence - In 1982, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17, was enacted to address domestic abuse and provide civil remedies for domestic violence victims ...

New Jersey Premarital and Cohabitation Agreements - Premarital agreement or antenuptial agreement may be used by a couple to determine, prior to marriage, what each party's rights and obligations will be in the event of divorce. ...

Paternity in Minnesota - The days of factual disputes over paternity are long gone, as the issue of biological paternity is now decided by DNA, which is hard to argue with. ...

The Art of the Prenup -- Use Sparingly - Prenuptial agreements are not lollypops. They are extremely serious agreements ...

Tips For Testifying in Court - Sometimes the only way out is to actually go to court on your divorce. Here are some very practical tips for testifying in court. ...

When Love Hurts - Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling and coercive behavior which can involve ...

Divorce HQ has additional sites that provide Child Support Information.



Share

  
Reddit Tweet
Facebook LinkedIn
Tumblr Pinterest
Google+
Email Refer A Friend

Follow Us On






Advertise your practice

Child Support Calculator

Divorce Inventory App


THIS WEB SITE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.