When a marriage ends, parenthood continues. Since the responsibilities of parenting often fall primarily on one person, it’s the responsibility of the secondary parent to help support the child financially.
In this research guide, you’ll find out about this financial support you and your child deserve from his or her father.
What is Child Support?
Child support is payment from a noncustodial divorced parent to help the custodial divorce parent care for a child they had together. Child support payments are court ordered and included in the divorce or separation settlement/agreement as well as on a parenting plan.
The payment often continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. If a child turns 18 years of age before he or she graduates high school, child support payment continues until graduation.
What Does Child Support Cover?
When a noncustodial divorced parent pays child support, the payment should cover expenses associated with feeding, clothing and providing shelter to the child. At times, there may be extra expenses that exceed the amount the custodial parent receives in child support.
For the extra expenses, it is the responsibility of parent the child is spending time with at the time the expense arises. If it seems as though the custodial parent is paying much more money than the share the noncustodial parent is paying in child support, it’s important to keep track of all expenses and contact a lawyer to discuss renegotiation of child support payment.
How Much is Child Support?
It’s difficult to determine exactly how much child support will be.
It depends on the state you live in and the following factors:
- How many children you have with the person
- Gross monthly income of each parent
- How much child support and alimony a noncustodial parent pays to an ex-wife of another marriage
- How much child support and alimony a custodial parent receives from another marriage
- The expense of daycare
- How much health insurance is for the child(ren)
Most state Department of Social Services websites have child support calculators. Be aware these calculators only provide an estimate of what you may receive.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible?
Child support should not be included in taxes for a deduction. So, a noncustodial parent paying child support cannot include it in taxes for a deduction and the custodial parent should also not include it in taxes as income.
While child support payments are not considered on taxes, if someone does not pay court ordered child support, the payments can be taken out of the refund he receives.
How Does Child Support Work?
Once child support has been court ordered, parents receive a case number from the Child Support Probation office. All payments should be sent to this office, so that records can be kept of all payments made. The probation office sends the payments to the custodial parent.
If the noncustodial parent doesn’t pay child support, the probation office can contact the noncustodial parent’s employer to request that his pay be docked for the amount.
If an employer cannot be reached or payment cannot be docked from paychecks and the noncustodial parent misses two weeks of payment, he will receive a notice stating that he needs to pay present and past child support. If payment is still not made, the probation office can issue a warrant for arrest.
Consult a Child Support Lawyer
Child support can be a complicating matter. To ensure you are receiving all you deserve, contact a child support lawyer. For general questions on child support, consider searching for child support online resources. There are many sites with lawyers answering questions from parents on both sides of the fence of child support.