When you are going through a divorce, one of the most difficult conversations you face is about money and how you are going to divide up assets and debts. If you are a divorced parent, one of the biggest decisions you must make is deciding who gets custody of your kids and how much money the other non-custodial parent will pay to take care of the kids’ needs.
This is called child support(Child Support System). When it comes to child support after a divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all answer because of things like income, custody, and how many kids you have. The court can step in if communication is tough, or you can come to an amicable agreement.
But it is important to remember that child support is just the start of the financial process, not the end of it. For example, if your kid goes on a field trip, you might have to pay for the hotel, which your ex might not have thought of.
The court might not include the cost of field trips in the order, and you might think that the expenses are more than your ex is paying in child support. So, you must decide whether to split the expense. It is important to be clear on the financial side and on the rights of both sides.
Basically, child support is all about helping the other parent pay for the costs of raising their child. Depending on where you live, the rules for child support may differ, but the goal is the same.
Here is a quick look at how it works and what you should know to handle your child support obligations.
What is child support?
Child support is a legally binding agreement between parents to make sure their kids get the basics they need. Where the parents fail to agree, it is a court-ordered payment from one parent to the other to cover the cost of raising their kids.
Usually, the other parent pays child support to the parent with primary custody, even if it is a man or woman. In divorce cases, the judge sets out what is expected of the parents in a divorce decree.
Even if you have never been married, you still must support your kids financially after you become a parent. If you are the paying parent that has a job, the money goes straight from your paycheck to the child support agency in your state before being split between you and the receiving parent.
Most states require you to pay child support monthly, but some require help until the child turns eighteen (18), goes through high school, or longer if the child gets a serious disability.
How much is child support?
The amount of child support you pay depends on where you live and the court that made the order. Generally, it covers about 53% of your child’s living costs, like food, housing, and clothes. Other expenses like healthcare, school, tuition, supplies for school, extra-curricular activities, babysitting, and transportation are also things that can add up together.
When it comes to determining how much child support you should be paying, the state court follows a formula that you can know by talking with a family lawyer.
It looks at things like how long the child spends with you, what they need, how much money you have, and if you are not working. The court either approves an agreement between you and the ex or makes its own order for you to follow. It should all go smoothly until there is an unexpected expense.
If your ex claims that the child support payment covers the cost of an overnight field trip or hotel stay, it is important to work with them to make sure that both parents take care of these unexpected expenses.
This is because it is an optional activity that nobody can predict when the court makes the child support order. State laws usually require a split of the expenses between the parents, so it is important to do whatever it takes to make sure you and your ex take care of your child.
You and your ex should work together to make sure this is done so you do not have to worry about going back to court.
Who gets child support?
Basically, states decide who gets child support based on who has custody and how much money they make. Usually, the person with more custody is the person the kid lives with. So, if a dad has primary custody, then the mom might have to pay child support.
Different states have different rules for who gets child support, and it can be tricky if you are a same-sex couple. But the sooner you know who pays child support, the better off you will be when it comes to planning for your finances if you split up.
You can talk with a family lawyer to know whether you are more likely to get child support if you divorce your spouse.
Can there be a change to child support?
In most states, paying spouses cannot challenge how much child support the other spouse is paying, but they can request a review or even a change of the amount.
Parents can ask for changes to their child support if they have a big life change that affects their finances or makes them need more child support. If your ex gets a new job or your child needs to go to school, the amount of child support can change.
A review does not mean that the judge or child support agency will order the other spouse to pay the child support, but it means they need to look at both parents’ finances and who pays for the child’s stuff.
These changes to child support must receive the approval of a judge before they can go into effect.
If you want to get a full divorce settlement and get out of a messy divorce, you need to figure out how much child support you need based on your state’s rules. These rules are to make sure child support is consistent, kids get what they need, and court fights are kept to a minimum.
Going through this process is tricky, but knowing your state’s rules on child support is a good start to get the best out of your case. At Gehi and Associates, we have family lawyers in different parts of the US who know a lot about the various state’s rules on child support.
We have helped a lot of our clients get out of messy divorce cases involving child support issues with much success. You can trust us to guide you through the sensitive issues of child support.