Non-custodial parents are generally required to make child support payments to the custodial parent, in order to help share in the expenses of raising the child. A child has the right to be financially supported by both parents, whether or not the parents are together or not. If the parents never married, the custodial parent still has the right to receive child support payments.
While the amount of the child support payments that one must pay can vary, there are several ways that a court will decide on the proper amount of child support that the custodial parent should receive. Should the non-custodial parent fall behind on these child support payments, they could face serious legal penalties. While some states follow particular guidelines, the circumstances of each parent will play a large part in determining the child support payment amounts
Specific Usage of Money
A non-custodial parent may have a problem with the idea of paying money directly to the former partner. They may want to give the money directly to the child. However, without substantial proof that the custodial parent is using the money for things not related to the child, this will be a difficult issue to argue in court. There are many things that a custodial parent can use child support money for. Child support money can be used to pay for rent or a mortgage, as long as the child lives in the residence with the custodial parent.
Household expenses may include utilities in addition to the mortgage payment. Child support payments can also be used clothing for the child and food for the household, as long as the child eats there. Child support payments can even be used to pay a car note, providing that the car is at least partially used to transport the child. If a non-custodial parent can prove that the custodial parent is not using the payments to benefit the child, the court may order the custodial parent to provide receipts.
In some states, a non-custodial parent must pay child support until their child is 21 years old. In other states, they can stop paying when their child turns 18. However, although child support processes vary from state to state, a parent may be required to help pay for part of their child's education expenses. Specifically, many non-custodial parents must help pay for their child's college expenses. There are many times when a parent may agree to help pay for their child's educational expenses on their own, with no court order.
Some couples may come to an agreement that they will both contribute a specific amount of money toward helping the child pay for their college expenses. If the educational support is court ordered, it may be used to pay tuition, housing or living expenses and books. If the child chooses not to go to college, then the non-custodial parent may be released from their obligation. However, if the state law requires a parent to pay child support until they are 21 years old, they will still have to pay regardless of whether or not the child goes to college.
A non-custodial parent may be responsible for helping to pay for their child's medical expenses. There is a common method for a non-custodial parent to help with their child's medical expenses. If the non-custodial parent is employed with a company that offers medical insurance, a judge may order that the non-custodial parent put the child on their medical insurance plan. There may be times when the non-custodial parent is unemployed, or employed with a company that offers no insurance. In this case, the court order may state that if the opportunity arises for the parent to receive work related medical insurance, they will be obligated to put their children on the plan. There are also times when the court will require the non-custodial parent to help pay some of the child's medical expenses whether or not they themselves have medical insurance.
Restrictions and Accountability
Different states have different penalties for individuals who fail to pay their court ordered child support payments. In fact, all issues surrounding child support can differ greatly, depending on what state one is in. There are a couple of issues that are generally agreed on, no matter what state one is in. One is that all children have a right to be financially supported by each parent. The other is that parents who do not pay their court ordered child support should face some type of legal repercussions.
A parent who does not pay their court ordered child support should be held accountable for their actions. These legal repercussions differ depending on the state. Punishments vary from being ordered to pay back child support to serving jail time because of it. Usually, paying back the child support that one owes is ordered no matter what additional punishments one may be given. If the non-custodial parent does not pay their child support payments, the custodial parent can choose to violate them. The court may then garnish their wages and impose tax liens on them.
States can calculate the amount of child support that must be paid in different ways. While there is different criteria, the most common way to calculate the child support payments is to consider the income of both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Other issues are also taken into account, such as previous financial obligations. However, income is the main basis for calculating how much child support one will be paying.
While most states have Internet child support calculators, the best way to get a true calculation is by visiting with an experienced family attorney. While an estimate may be very close, one should still prepare themselves for the amount being different once they go to court. In the end, it is the judge in family court who will decide about the various issues regarding child support.
There are different factors that will be taken into account when a judge is deciding the amount of court ordered child support that the non-custodial parent must pay. Each parent's income is the first thing to be taken into account upon filing for child support payments. If the non-custodial parent's income is much lower than the custodial parent's income, it is likely that they will not be ordered to pay high large amounts of money. However, unless there are extenuating circumstances, even if the non-custodial parent has a very low income, they will still be required to contribute some form of financial help, even though the amount may be extremely low.
An obvious factor when figuring out the amount of each child support payment is the number of children involved. The amount of each child support payment will rise as the number of children increases. If any child has special needs, that will also be taken into consideration. A child with special needs may require more than a child without special needs. The family court is aware of this, and judges accordingly. Finally, a general yearly cost of taking care of the child is taken into consideration.