If you are newly divorced (or about to be) there is a lot you need to get used to as you start this new chapter of your life. You’ll have to get used to changes such as moving, or living alone, or perhaps not having full custody of your children. Depending on the terms of your divorce, you may be required to pay child support. There are some common misconceptions about paying child support, so read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the subject.
Which Parent Must Pay Child Support?
Child support orders are not tied to gender; it is a misconception that the father always pays child support. Typically, if one parent has custody, the other parent pays child support; if parents share custody, the parent with the higher salary is sometimes ordered to pay child support to the one who makes less money.
Is Child Support Tied to Visitation?
In most states, visitation does not affect child support. This means that the custodial parent may not deny the noncustodial parent visitation if child support is late. Conversely, a parent who does not have visitation may still be required to pay child support.
How Can Child Support Payments Be Used?
Child support payments are specifically for expenses related to the care and education of the child. This can include food, clothing, tuition, school supplies, daycare costs, medical expenses, and activities. While most courts presume that the parent is using the funds in the best interest of the child, ten states do require the parent receive support to account for spending.
How Is Child Support Assigned?
In most cases, child support is decided as part of the divorce proceedings along with alimony and custody agreements. If the custodial parent does not agree with the amount assigned, or if no decision was made in divorce proceedings, he or she must file with the court in his or her jurisdiction, which will then schedule a hearing.
How Is the Child Support Amount Calculated?
States are required to have their own guidelines for calculating child support amounts, depending on income, number of children, living expenses, school fees, and special needs. In some cases, a flat percentage of income is ordered. Other states have a table they use to assign amounts.
What Happens if Circumstances Change?
According to the legal professionals of the Zimmerman Law Group, either parent can petition the court for a change in child support in the case of a reduction or increase in income, a move, an increase in expenses, or other financial changes. If you happen to lose your job, or experience a decrease in your income, the court can adjust the child support payments according to your personal circumstances.
Since child support guidelines vary from state to state, the Division of Family Services can help you navigate this process to ensure that your children’s needs are met. If you still have questions, it can be helpful to consult with your lawyer, since they will be well-aware of your state’s rules and regulations when it comes to paying child support. It is important to be fully informed when it comes to your obligations and rights regarding child support, so educating yourself on the subject from the beginning will help to save you time, money, and extra frustration.