Getting the Facts Straight about Child Support

When minors are involved, child support is almost certain to be part of a divorce situation. Along with visitation and child custody, child support can be a difficult and contentious matter for couples. Read on to find out why child support issues are so different from other parts of the parenting plan.

1. In most cases, parents are free to create their own visitation and custody plans as long as they agree and it seems fair to the judge. Child support, however, is in a different category and carries some stringent rules and punishments for non-compliance.

2. The federal government created laws about who has to pay child support, how to punishment deadbeat parents, and more. The local and state governments, however, are usually in charge of the enforcement of the orders handed down by the judge.

3. The federal and state share more child support duties when it comes to enforcement and that change came about when deadbeat parents crossed state lines in an effort to avoid paying. Now, the long arm of the law reaches these parents no matter where they go.

4. The state the divorcing couple lives in plays a big role in determining how much child support is ordered. The amount ordered is largely based on the median income of the state, which varies quite a bit. Interested divorcing parents may find a child support calculator helpful in estimating what to expect when the time comes to determine child support payments.

5. The actual amount ordered varies depending on factors like the custody type. When a child lives 50% of the time with both parents, that is taken into account when determining child support. Other influencing factors include:

  • Who pays for the health insurance of the child. In most states, there is separate provision addressing this issue in the divorce petition.
  • Whether or not the paying parent already has preexisting child support obligations.
  • Who pays for childcare expenses for the child.

6. When it comes to who pays, it's usually the parent who makes the most money. When income situations change, the parent may petition the courts to have the amount reduced. Serious illnesses may also call for a child support reduction as well. Surprisingly, incarceration is not a good excuse for failing to pay child support.

To find out more about child support, speak to a divorce attorney through law firms such as Bray & Johnson Law Firm.