Unfortunately, there are many circumstances that can prevent a child’s parents from raising their child under the same roof. For a child, this can be an emotional challenge as well. If you or your child’s other parent have been separated from your child, the court may have ordered a child support schedule. It is your obligation to support your children throughout their adolescent life usually through the age of 18-21. A family lawyer can help you set up payments or arrange a review of your case.

What is child support?

Child support is the legal obligation that both parents must provide to care for a child. This support includes medical, dental, and financial. Both parents must make this contribution, which means if the child is not living with you, you still must pay for their well being. If you make a significant amount more than the child’s other parent you must provide that child with a standard of living that is suitable for your income.

How is child support determined?

Child support is not just a random number thrown together by the courts. It is not a number that a spouse may demand in your divorce settlement. Child support payments are governed by federal law according to a guide line and not the lawyers. This is to prevent outrageous amounts of support being ordered by the court from case to case. The guidelines are an objectionable formula that each court uses to determine the amount of support to be paid. It may seem like only one parent provides child support, but in actuality both parents are providing for the child equally according to their income. This assures the child the same comforts they would have if both parents were together under one roof. This does not mean that if a spouse decides to take a lower paying job then they can get out of making higher payments. If you are determined to have the ability to earn $500,000 and you are working a job that only pays $100,000 a court may award a payment according to what you are able to make. If this sounds like your case you should seek the advice of a child support lawyer.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Most of the time, both parents must provide support for their children until they turn 18, or become emancipated.

How is child support enforced?

If your child’s obligated parent is not making their payments to you, your lawyer can help by sending them legal documents ordering them to pay. If the parent still refuses to pay, the courts can order for several things to happen:

  • Their drivers license to be taken away
  • A seizure of all tax refunds
  • Professional licenses being revoked
  • Garnished wages and liens on any and all property.

Can my child support payments be modified?

Yes, usually by showing proof of circumstances that show the need for modification. These situations can include:

  • If a child’s schooling changes, or daycare needs.
  • If a child’s medical situation changes
  • If you have temporary or medical hardship
  • If you or the other parents financial situation changes

Although these things are considered when determining further support for the child, only the courts can grant a modification of support. Please seek the advice of a qualified child support lawyer if the situation does change.