When two people decide to have a child, they are making a commitment to that child that will last a lifetime. Raising a child is expensive, and it is important that both parents contribute to their upbringing, even if they are no longer together. This is where child support comes in. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about child support in the United States.
We will cover topics such as who pays for it, how much it costs, and how it is calculated. If you have any questions about child support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What does the law say about child support?
The law requires that both parents support their children financially. This obligation lasts until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. In some cases, support may continue beyond this point if the child has special needs. Child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, but in some cases, it may be paid directly to the child.
How is child support calculated? What the Courts Would Consider?
The amount of child support that is paid each month is determined by a number of factors, including:
Income of Both Parents
The income of both parents is taken into consideration when calculating child support. The court will look at each parent’s gross income, which includes things like wages, salaries, tips, commissions, and bonuses. The court will also consider any other forms of income, such as interest from investments or dividends from stock holdings.
Income of the Child
The child’s income is also taken into consideration when calculating child support. This is because the money that the child earns can be used to offset the amount of support that is paid by the parents.
Expenses of the Child
The court will also consider any expenses that are related to the care of the child, such as medical bills, childcare expenses, and educational expenses.
Once the court has considered all of these factors, it will determine the amount of child support that is to be paid each month.
The payment schedule is typically set up so that the non-custodial parent pays their share of support on a monthly basis. In some cases, however, child support may be paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The payment schedule will be determined by the court based on what is best for the child.
How Long Child Support Lasts
Child support typically lasts until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. In some cases, however, child support may continue beyond this point if the child has special needs.
Child support therefore continues until the following eventualities affecting the legal status of the child materializes:
- The Child is no longer unless the child is still in high School;
- The child is emancipated and is legally declares as such by a court of competent jurisdiction therefore forfeiting protection otherwise accorded to the child as a minor;
- Termination of parental rights, duties and obligation by reason of a successful and legal adoption process or any other legal process;
- The child joins the military or any disciplined forces in a state that considers members of disciplined forces adults – This mat require application through a motion in court.
What is the effect of Child Custody on Child Support?
The type of custody arrangement that is in place will also affect the amount of child support that is paid. If the custodial parent has sole physical custody, then they will likely receive a higher amount of child support than if they had joint physical custody.
This is because the non-custodial parent would have less time with the child, and therefore, would not be responsible for as many of the child’s expenses.
Marriage and Child Support: Does Marital Status affect Child Support?
Parental responsibility for child support is not affected by the marital status of the parents. Whether the parents are married, divorced, or never married, they will still be responsible for supporting their children financially.
Enforcement of Child Support: What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support?
If a parent does not pay child support, they may be subject to a number of penalties, including:
- Garnishment of wages
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Revocation of passport
- Seizure of tax refunds
- Contempt of court charges
In some cases, the non-paying parent may even be sent to civil jail.
Alteration or Modification of Child Support Orders
It is important to note that child support orders are not set in stone. If either parent experiences a change in circumstances, they can petition the court to modify the order.
For example, if the non-custodial parent loses their job, they may be able to have the child support amount reduced. Alternatively, if the custodial parent gets a significant raise at work, they may be required to pay more child support. Equally if the child in issue develops needs that were not foreseen or were unforceable at the time of calculation, the child gets emancipated or is subject to circumstances defeating or reducing protection accorded to the child by operation of law.
If you are seeking a modification of your child support order, it is important to speak with an attorney who can help you navigate the legal process.
Can A Parent Withhold Child Support?
A parent cannot withhold child support because the other parent is not exercising their visitation rights. Visitation and child support are two separate issues, and one cannot be used to offset the other.
If a parent refuses to pay child support, they may be subject to the penalties discussed above.
Withholding of child support can only occur in very limited circumstances, such as if the non-custodial parent is behind on their child support payments. In this case, the custodial parent may be able to withhold a portion of the non-custodial parent’s visitation time until they catch up on their payments.
It is important to note that withholding visitation should always be a last resort. If you are having trouble getting your child support payments, it is best to speak with an attorney or the child support enforcement agency in your state.
Remedies for Violation of Parental Custody Decree Conditions
Custodial parents often face the daunting task of enforcing child custody decrees when the non-custodial parent violates one or more conditions.
There are a number of potential remedies available to custodial parents in this situation, but it is important to keep in mind that each case is unique. The best course of action will vary depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Some possible remedies for violation of child custody decrees include:
- Contempt of court charges
- Make-up time with the child
- Modification of the custody order
- Suspension or revocation of visitation rights
If you are facing a situation where the other parent has violated a condition of your child custody decree, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you determine the best course of action.
Rights of a Non Custodial Parent
Although child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent, this does not mean that they have no rights. The non-custodial parent has the right to:
- Receive notice of any changes to the child support order
- Be heard in court if there is a dispute about the child support order
- Receive receipts for all payments made
- Have their visitation rights enforced
If you are a non-custodial parent and you feel like your rights are being violated, it is important to speak with an attorney who can help you protect your interests.
How to File for Child Support
If you need help getting child support from the other parent, you can contact your local child support enforcement agency. The child support enforcement agency will help you locate the other parent, establish paternity (if necessary), and obtain a child support order.
In most cases, the child support enforcement agency will file a petition on your behalf and represent you in court. However, there are some instances where you may need to hire an attorney to represent you.
If you are already receiving public assistance, the child support enforcement agency will automatically open a case on your behalf. If you are not receiving public assistance, you can still contact the child support enforcement agency to open a case.
There is no fee to open a case with the child support enforcement agency, but there may be a fee for their services.
You can also choose to file a private lawsuit against the other parent. If you choose to do this, you will need to hire an attorney to represent you in court.
The bottom line is that both parents have a responsibility to support their child financially, even if they are no longer together. Child support is intended to help cover the costs of raising a child, and it is typically paid by the non-custodial parent. If you are having difficulty getting child support from the other parent, there are a number of options available to you. You can contact your local child support enforcement agency, hire an attorney, or file a private lawsuit.
Whatever course of action you decide to take, it is important to seek legal assistance to ensure that your rights are protected.
Child support is a vital part of ensuring that children have the financial resources they need to thrive. If you are a parent who is owed child support, it is important to know your rights and options for enforcement. And if you are a non-custodial parent who is struggling to make your payments, there may be options available to you as well.
Child support can be a complex and confusing issue, but we hope that this blog post has helped to answer some of your questions. If you have any further questions, or if you need assistance in enforcing a child support order, please contact us. We are here to help.