Guide to Puerto Rico Child Support
Couples who split up in Puerto Rico can expect the non-custodial parent to be required to pay PR child support. If you are required to pay child support according to Puerto Rico child support guidelines, you owe it to yourself to learn more about the territory's laws. This guide will help you understand how PR child support obligations are computed and how the courts determine who pays. You'll also learn about the penalties for failing to pay your Puerto Rico child support according to court order.
Puerto Rico Child Support Guidelines
Currently, PR child support is determined by what is called the “income shares” model. This model, which has been adopted by 37 states, attempts to fairly assess child support costs to bring a child's standard of living back to what he or she was accustomed to before his or her parents divorced. When the court determines your Puerto Rico child support obligation, they begin by adding your income to the income of your child's other parent.
After determining your total income as a couple, the state computes a baseline for the total cost of your child's support. Then, the court will look at your percentage of the total income for both parents. You will be required to pay an amount of child support that is equal to your percentage of income times the base support amount required according to PR child support guidelines.
Judges have some discretion in assigning Puerto Rico child support, and if you are in exceptional circumstances, you may want to contact an attorney. A PR child support attorney may be able to help you seek a lower or higher amount for child support if you can prove that this would be both fair and in the best interest of the child.
The percentage of your child's support that you will be required to pay will also be lowered if you are a custodial parent at least part of the time. Because this can become a complicated calculation, it's best to talk to a Puerto Rico child support attorney about how custody changes could affect your child support obligations.
Puerto Rico Child Support Enforcement
If you do not pay your PR child support obligations after you are given a court order, you may be subject to penalties. Puerto Rico child support enforcement is taken seriously, and a child support order can be enforced even if a parent lives in a different U.S. state or territory. If you do not pay your PR child support in the correct amount and on time, you may have your wages garnished or could even be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court can result in jail time until you have paid your delinquent Puerto Rico child support obligations.
Changes to Child Support Agreements
If you are unable to pay your current PR child support obligations because of becoming unemployed or disabled, you may be able to have the court modify your court order. In this situation, it is best to hire a Puerto Rico child support attorney, because some family court judges are quite reluctant to lower a parent's child support obligations for any reason.