If you’re court-ordered to pay child support, or are in the process of being placed on child support, you need to know a few child support rules. Although it’s important for those paying child support to know the laws behind it, it’s also important for those receiving child support to understand a few rules as well.
The child support system can become confusing at times, and it might not be until several court dates later when you finally begin receiving it or paying it. No matter where you stand in the situation, you need to have a good understanding of how it works. The best time to learn about child support laws is now.
Understanding Child Support Rules: 6 Things Everyone Should Know
Continue reading below for 7 facts about child support that are essential for you to know about!
1. The Beginning of Child Support
When bringing a child into this world, both parents are responsible for the child. When the parents live in the same household, they work with one another to provide the support needed by the child. When the parents don’t live together, there is more often than not, a parent who the child lives with more so than the other.
This is the parent who has custody of the child. This is something that can be written down in a separation agreement or in a court-ordered agreement. The parent with custody is the one who pays for the majority of the child’s expenses.
This can be clothing, school supplies, food, medical bills, and much more. The other parent, although not the one with custody, is still responsible for providing financial assistance for these expenses. This is child support.
To begin the child support process, the parent with custody will need to go down to the courthouse and file for it.
2. The End of Child Support
Once child support begins, it will continue until the child is no longer a dependent. This is, in most cases, after the child reaches the age of 18. However, there are some exceptions.
If the child marries before the age of 18, then the paying parent is no longer responsible for making these payments. A child at the age of 16 can also take him or herself out of the child support program voluntarily, ending the payments.
If a child reaches the age of 18 and is still dependent due to an illness, disability, or a full-time school schedule, then the parent might be required to make payments past the age of 18.
3. The Paying Parent
The paying parent is the one who has the child less often. This parent is responsible for paying child support even if the parent with custody gets married or remarried. This is also true if the other parent begins to live with someone else.
Neither of these situations takes responsibility away from you. The amount of child support that’s required to be paid each month is normally set up by Child Support Enforcement. If the two parents can come to an agreement, then this amount could potentially be set up by the parents rather than the courts.
Even if the parent without custody has never lived with, been married to, or even had a relationship with the other parent, he or she is still financially responsible for the child.
4. Paying the Child Support
The paying parent will need to provide accurate employment information. This includes the name and address of the employer and the amount of money made each paycheck. If needed, each parent can get their own lawyer to help ensure that everything is done correctly and that there are no discrepancies.
If you’re not able to come up with a support payment schedule between the two of you, then you can take it to the courthouse, where a mediator will come into play. The courts will make all of the decisions for you depending on each parent’s income, time with the child, and a few other factors.
5. Refusing Access to the Child
Refusing access to the child is never allowed for the simple fact that a parent isn’t paying support. If you’re the parent required to pay child support but are not able to make payments, this does not give the other parent the right to keep your child from you. The only reason why a parent should keep a child from another parent is if he or she has reason to suspect danger.
The courts will never refuse access to a child because you haven’t made a payment. The courts want there to be open access to your child to ensure that the child has an on-going relationship with both parents.
6. Every State has Different Guidelines
Do keep in mind that every state has its own guidelines when it comes to child support enforcement. Child support laws and rules are not a national standard. Each state will use its own formula to calculate how much a non-custody parent should be paying.
To get a full list of all the rules and laws regarding child support in your state, be sure to contact your state’s department of revenue. At the very least, consider contacting a family law attorney in your area who has experience dealing with child support in that specific state.
Know These Child Support Rules Before It’s Too Late!
If you’re in the process of being placed on child support or placing another parent on child support, then you’ll need to know these child support rules before getting too deep into the process. Doing so ensures that you go into every child support situation with a level head.
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