With divorce rates at an all-time high United States, more and more parents are dealing with child support payments and orders. The child support system is set up to help children during the event of a divorce, or life change. Navigating the complicated child support system can be overwhelming for most anybody. Going through a rough separation or divorce certainly doesn’t make it anything easier. Going through a big life change can have a huge effect on one’s decision making skills. These factors are why it is important to secure help from an experienced Child Custody Lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your case and your rights, and help both parties come to a fair and feasible agreement.
Below you will learn the truth about 5 common Child Support Myths. Please keep in mind that child support laws vary by state, and your individual situation should be evaluated by a professional.
Myth #1: Child support arrangements are final.
Child Support arrangements are actually modifiable. If you experience disability, serious illness, a change in financial circumstances, in heritance, or if your child ages out of the system, you may be eligible for a modification. A custodial parent may also seek additional child support as the child’s needs increase. For example, as the child gets older, they may need tutoring, want to participate in extra-curricular activities, or need extra medical care. Or, the non-custodial parent may seek a child support modification if they re-marry, and/or have more children. The purpose of this modification would be so the non-custodial parent can increase support for the subsequent children.
The court may grant a temporary or permanent modification of child support. A temporary modification would be a one-time, large sum of money to cover a certain need. Braces, after school care, a new car are all examples of a particular need that may or may not be covered by a temporary modification. A permanent modification of a child custody may be granted when the child experiences life changes. Examples would be if a child needed special medical care, or to begin attending a special school.
Myth #2: Your child support responsibility ends when your child turns 18.
This is a common myth that many people do not understand. In your court order, you should be able to find out when your child support agreement will end. If you can’t find the information, you can contact the child support agency in your state, or enlist the help of a professional. In most states (not all), child support continues past age 18 if the child is still living at home and attending high school, or for special situations such as special needs children. However, if the non-custodial parent is behind on child support, in many cases, arrears (or unpaid back child support) continue to be due even if regular child support ends. The United States Department of Justice goes into further detail about what consequences are in place, should one fail to pay child support as decided by the courts. You can read more here: https://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/citizensguide/citizensguide_child_support.html
Myth #3: Child support is tax deductible.
The payer of the child support cannot deduct the money paid from his or her taxes. Just as you cannot claim most expenses incurred for your child without a child custody agreement. It is important to know that child support can interact with other aspects of taxes. For example, a portion of alimony paid for spousal support can be considered child support, and therefore not tax deductible for the payer of the alimony.
Myth #4: Child support is decided at the federal level.
In the case of child support, there are no official national guidelines in place. Each state has its own sanctions in place for handling child custody affairs. The child support laws may vary widely by state, so it is important to seek experienced help in your child custody case. The child support laws can vary in how payment amounts are determined, how child support is paid, penalties for late payment or delinquencies, and other factors.
Myth #5: Child support directly benefits the child.
Child support does not go directly to the child, but goes to the parent who has custody of the child. This is why it is so important to properly document your child support payments. You should always be able to provide evidence of your payments. If a court suspects misuse of the funds, modifications may be made to the child support agreement.
As stated before, when one if facing child custody and child support issues, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney. The family law attorney will know the laws regarding child support and child custody in your state, and be able to help guide you to the best solution for your situation.
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This site and its information is not official legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Feel free to get in touch by e-mail, letters or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us.