A divorce or separation can become even more complicated when children are involved. You might be unsure what will happen once the court finalizes your divorce and child custody decisions. A part of your new co-parenting arrangement may include child support payments, which are in place to ensure that both parents share the cost of raising their children. Both parents have a legal obligation to give financial support to their children. These obligations and privileges stay in play even after a divorce or legal separation.
There are certain professionals who can assist you in coming to a child support agreement. These include child support lawyers, divorce lawyers and child custody lawyers. They will ensure that each parent gets a favorable court’s decision and no one is cheated. Additionally, each state and territory provides help for parents who are divorcing or separating.
This article will educate you on all you need to know about child support to ensure that your children continue to receive assistance from both parties following your separation or divorce.
What Is Child Support?
Child support, also known as child maintenance, is the regular payments made by the parent who does not live with the child(ren) to the custodial parent (the parent who provides most of the child(ren)’s daily care). Most times, the mother is usually the parent with primary custody, with the father making the maintenance payments. However, any parent may be eligible to do so.
Child support is essential, especially if you have your children’s best interest at heart. That is why you need a child support lawyer, so you are not cheated or left with the burden of a child to handle on your own. A child support lawyer can arrange payments, define the terms of child support orders, and enforce custody and visitation schedules in addition to managing child support obligations. They negotiate on behalf of their clients and also offer judicial guidance.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
Although a system is used to determine the amount a parent must pay, many parents believe that the child support system is unjust or favors one person over the other. It begins with the two parents’ combined gross income which includes investments, bonuses, and employee benefits.
They also take healthcare expenditures into account. The second parent must contribute financially to cover the cost of the insurance if one parent is required to carry coverage for three children. It might be challenging to determine the appropriate amount of child support for non-custodial parents who spend a lot of parenting time with their children. However, it is easier with the consultation of a child support attorney.
The New Hampshire child support calculator is one method for calculating how much child support an absent parent must contribute. For one child, the amount is typically 25% of the adjusted gross income; for two children, it is 33%; for three children, it is 40%; and for four children or more, it is 45%. If a child care expense arises or the absent parent’s health insurance covers the children, the amount of child support may change.
What to Know About Child Support
The best interests of your children should always come first when deciding how to raise them following a separation or divorce.
For families, asking a judge to make the decisions can be expensive, time-consuming, and distressing. However, here are 5 things you must know about child support law:
- Child Support Is Not Governed at The Federal Level
Every state uses a separate set of rules, formulas, and techniques to evaluate support.
Although each state is unique, states typically adhere to one of the three fundamental models: the flat percentage, the income shares, or the Melson formula. The Melson Formula model is based on several factors, including income and the needs of the child(ren). In contrast, the flat percentage model is based on a proportion of the non-custodial parent’s income. The income shares model, which most states follow, is a combination of both parents’ income.
- Only a Few Things Are Considered When Determining Child Support
Most regulations consider each parent’s take-home salary after payroll deductions and taxes. This includes the cost of daycare or other expenses like the child’s health insurance. However, you won’t get a break from paying child support if you have credit card debt or are making mortgage payments on a house that is out of your price range. This is done to stop parties who might be required to pay from going out and overspending to avoid paying.
- Child Support Arrears Can Have Dire Repercussions
The law views paying child support as an unavoidable parental obligation. Usually, unemployed parents must pay a minimal amount to support their children. The courts have the authority to do the following if a parent doesn’t pay:
- Seize paychecks
- Tax returns
- Impact your credit
- Assess late fees
- Withhold unemployment assistance or other government benefits
- Restrict professional or driver’s licenses
- Impose jail time
It is a debt for which bankruptcy cannot provide relief. Until the obligation is cleared, courts have been known to compel payments (on an accumulation of the previously missed child support payments) for decades.
- You Can Always Modify Your Child Support
Depending on the figures, child support payments may be modified upward or downward. If the parties cannot agree to modify the payments, the parent making the request must prove a material change in circumstances. Most courts would define a change in circumstances as anything, from a parent losing their work to a parent receiving a promotion and pay increase.
Furthermore, during the child’s whole period of minority and for a few years after, a parent may sue the other parent for unpaid child support. This issue often arises between unmarried parties.
- Child Support Will Stop
The general rule is that payments end when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Nevertheless, this doesn’t apply in all states. The paying parent must inform the relevant office of Child Support to stop automatic withdrawals of child support payments from a paycheck. If not, they will still be required to pay child support once their child graduates. Additionally, throughout the child’s entire period of minority, several states allow one parent to sue the other for unpaid child support.
Child support is important if you want your children not to be affected by your divorce or separation. Not only does it help financially but you will also be able to co-parent with ease.
You should consult with an expert child support lawyer if you have any queries regarding your state’s particular child support rules. Remember that no one can enforce child support unless the agreement is formalized in a court order.
Can Child Support Be Adjusted If a Parent Loses Their Job or Gets a New One?
Child support never changes on its own. The impacted parent must request a revision of the court order requiring child support payment if the parents or the children’s circumstances change in a way that could influence child support.
How Much Time Does Child Support Last?
A child becomes legally independent at 19, and the non-custodial parent’s responsibility to continue paying child support ends.