One of the biggest issues facing families today is child support, and yet there is still so must confusion about what it means, who pays it, and when.
Whether you’re a parent struggling to make ends meet or just curious as to how child support works, this article is for you. It addresses five big misconceptions associated with child support, providing clear facts that can clear up these misunderstandings.
Myth #1: Parents Cannot Modify Child Support
Child support orders are legally binding, but you can change them under certain circumstances.
Significant life events that justify a child support alteration include:
- A change in the child's needs
- A change in the parent’s health
- A change in the child's living situation
- A change in either parent's income or employment
Myth #2: Child Support Ends when the Child Turns 18
Child support depends on the specifics of each case. For instance, if a child has a disability or a serious illness, child support payments may be required well into adulthood. Some high school students are entitled to support until they graduate, even if they are 18. Additionally, courts can order support into early adulthood in cases of abuse or mistreatment.
Myth #3: You Can Avoid Paying Child Support When You Cannot See Your Kids
Child support is not a punishment for the non-custodial parent. It is meant to support the child financially. In short, it’s not about you.
Even if you choose not to see your children, you are still financially responsible for their well-being. Most courts determine child support based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child. Therefore, avoiding child support payments can have severe consequences, regardless of whether you are involved in the child’s life. These consequences include wage garnishment, tax refund seizure, and even potential jail time. The court could view non-payment of child support as a form of neglect and revoke your parental rights.
Myth #4: The Paying Parent is Not Entitled to Information About The Child's Activities
This is simply not true. Regardless of who has custody, the paying parent has every right to stay informed about their children's lives. This includes school events, extracurricular activities, and medical appointments.
One of the only exceptions would be instances of abuse, where the court issues a restraining order, intentionally keeping the paying parent in the dark.
Myth #5 - Child Support Payments Always Go Directly to the Custodial Parent
Depending on your situation, support payments can go through a state agency or the court system. This is done to ensure that payments are properly documented and tracked, and doing so provides a level of accountability for both parents. You may be able to plead for this chain of possession, especially if you do not trust the paying parent.
Additionally, some custodial parents may opt to have payments diverted to a third-party vendor that handles fund distribution.
If you have concerns about paying or receiving child support, Masella Law Firm, P.A. is here to help. To schedule a free consultation with our team, fill out our online contact form or call our office at (803) 938-4952.