Getting divorced with children may result in child support payments being made by one parent to the other to help with financial expenses necessary to care for the child. While child support was more hardwired decades ago, courts and laws have started to change to ensure the best interests of the child truly are being cared for. If divorce is new to you, here are five things you need to know about child support.
- The Cost
The cost of child support will vary based on the state you live in, the type of custody arrangement made, and the number of children. For instance, there are states that have set guideline for child support. Illinois, for example, says child support is 23% of the supporting parent’s net pay, and this goes up if there are more children involved. However, there are other states that decide child support based on the amount of money made by each parent. If the parent with sole custody makes more money than the parent without sole custody, then there’s a chance child support will not be due. If you’re trying to figure out what the cost will be, it’s important to talk with a legal advisor for more information in your state.
- The Payee
When you hear about child support, most people assume the father will be the one paying the mother; however, this isn’t always true. The person who needs to pay child support will depend on what the courts decide. In some cases, the mother may need to pay child support to the father. In other cases, parents may not need to pay child support. Again, the best way to know about this will depend on your state and can be best decided by talking to a legal advisor.
- The Length
Another issue that arises with child support is the length of support needed. In most cases, child support will end when the child turns 18; however, there are other instances where the child support may end sooner. For instance, if the child becomes married before 18, then the child support may end. In addition, if the child becomes emancipated from his/her parents, then child support payments can also end.
In addition, child support payments may also need to continue until the child has graduated from college. Again, these payments and the length of payments will depend on your legal arrangement made by the courts, so be sure to have a copy of this on hand.
- How to Pay
Child support payments are typically due once a month, but the courts will also have a say in how often this is due and how it should be paid. For instance, some parents can agree to just having the one parent pay the other parent directly on a certain day of the month. In other cases, the court may advise that payments come directly out of the other parent’s paycheck and sent directly to him/her. Again, there is no right or wrong way to go about making the payments, but this will all be decided on by the courts.
Child support is a legally binding agreement, so if you fail to pay, then you can be taken into custody and serve jail time. If you do not have the payments come directly from your check, then the courts may rule that they need to be taken from your check to ensure you do not miss any additional payments moving forward.
Child support is serious, as it has to do with the best interests of your child. If you are going to be paying or expecting child support, then you need to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state.