During and after a divorce, child support is a complex issue for most couples. Because there are many factors at play regarding how much child support will be paid to a custodial spouse, it is always important both parties know as much as possible about this aspect of their divorce.
Since child support laws are enacted at the state level, they can become even more complex if parents and children move around the country. In these cases, they become a multi-jurisdictional issue, which can complicate the situation even more. This is especially true if visitation is a contentious issue between both parents, since many courts decide child support and visitation during the same hearing. Because of this, some parents believe their visitation rights and duty to pay child support go hand-in-hand, which is incorrect. Even in situations where visitation is being denied by the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent is still obligated by law to continue child support payments.
In almost all child support cases, spouses have questions regarding the amount of child support that is to be paid. For the custodial parent, they may view the amount as too little, while the non-custodial parent may feel it is excessive. Whatever the case may be, states have specific guidelines used by courts to determine what is deemed to be an fair amount of child support to be paid each month. However, while these payments are required to be made each month, modifications are possible, and are in fact usually made periodically to adjust for inflation, cost-of-living increases, changes in income for either party, and other factors.
Unfortunately for many children of divorce, while child support payments may be mandated by a court, that does not necessarily mean all parents required to make these payments do so. As a result, custodial parents frequently hire family law attorneys to help them enforce child support orders. Since child support orders are similar legally to civil judgments, parents who are delinquent in their payments can face a variety of penalties, such as wage garnishment, withholding of tax refunds, suspension of a driver’s license or passport, or in severe cases jail time.
To learn more about child support issues specific to your situation, always consult an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney. By doing so, you will have your legal rights explained and protected, while also gaining peace of mind for you and your children.