Child support is a financial agreement that you come to with your ex-partner, whether by court order or a family arrangement. It specifically applies to payments that are made to support the children you had together. Regardless of the custody agreements, both parties are legally required to provide some financial assistance for their offspring. These payments are to cover clothing, housing, schooling, healthcare and other basic needs. If you have a child with another person and the two of you split up, regardless of whose fault it is, you are liable for child support.
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Many families come to different arrangements, but it can be a contentious issue when one party has more wealth than the other, or when one parent has sole custody of the children. If you need advice, it’s best to talk to your local child support office to help you set some parameters for deciding the amount of payments and how they should be paid.
Usually, a monthly payment of the same amount is issued to cover your child or children’s needs. Misappropriating the money for other uses, such as the dining out or taking a vacation with the money is a serious offense.
Calculation and enforcement
As child support can be one of the sticking points in a divorce case, each state has its own laws that dictate how the childsupport payments are separated. Although states may differ, they are all based on federal law and usually a formula is drawn up that takes into account the earnings of each parent and their tax status. Other factors are taken into consideration, such as children from another relationship. If there was a higher standard of living pre-divorce or if the children need to move to a new, smaller home, this will also be considered. If one of the children has any medical issues or extra needs, this will also be examined and dealt with in drawing up the agreement.
Sometimes a judge may decide that the child support can be paid to the child directly, but the paying parent cannot decide this. It is a court decision.
Although it appears complex from the outside, divorce attorneys have years of practice at this, and are looking for what’s in the best interests of the children. Even if one parent doesn’t want contact with the children, they are required by law to pay child support. However, if one parent has not paid their child support, the other parent is not allowed to withhold visitation. These are separate issues, so your right to protest visitation rights is overruled by your responsibility to pay for the care of your child.
Many people feel this is a subject that is difficult to raise with his or her ex, but it’s important that you think of the children. Over half a million families in this country have a family-based arrangement that they have chosen for themselves without battling through a court, so it is worth bringing up the conversation to see if it can be solved amicably.
Remember that refusing or neglecting to pay child support is a federal offense and is punishable with fines and even prison. If you have any doubts about what you need to pay or what your child is entitled to, call a local child support number to provide you with all the necessary information.