Divorce often results in an unstable financial situation particularly if one parent does not have a job. Luckily, there’s child support required by law for parents who were not given full custody of the child. This is a significant contribution meant to support any child’s basic needs including education.
Any divorced parent granted full custody of a child has the right to seek child support and noncustodial parents are obligated by law to pay child support on a regular basis. This applies even to the unmarried couples so long as they are acknowledged parents of the child.
Paying child support should be consistent at all times. A noncustodial parent should not use this as a way to get back at his ex-spouse especially concerning visitation issues. The family law in all U.S. states clearly states that parents are not allowed to withhold support due to visitation conflicts. The only exception to the law is when a custodial parent spends a long time with the kids outside of their area of residence without the knowledge of the other parent and visitation was not possible. If this happens, some courts allow the noncustodial parent to temporarily suspend paying child support.
There’s no standard amount as to how much child support a parent should provide. States differ in their guidelines such as in their percentage formulas. The formula in calculating the amount takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children and other factors. The percentage formulas were created based on studies that looked into the amount normally spent in child rearing including the estimated proportion of a parent’s net or gross income that would have been allotted to supporting a child if the family was intact.
Some states consider a parent’s gross income while the others use net income. Gross income not only covers the wages but investments and other sources as well. Net income refers to the gross income deducted by taxes from the federal and state, social security, medicare and health insurance. Business expenses seen valid by the courts may be taken into consideration before computing for net income. The good news is that a child support software can now be utilized in computing for an accurate amount based on court guidelines. This tool is easy to use, affordable and easily downloadable.
Courts, however, may not stick with the guidelines all the time. They may grant petitions for higher or lower child support in certain circumstances. These include higher expenses for medical and dental care of the child not covered by insurance and voluntary unemployment of the parent obligated to pay child support. Another reason for asking a higher child support is for the enrollment of a child in summer camp and private school.
Payment of child support is mostly done through the Department of Revenue (DOR). The amount is deducted by the employer from the parent’s paycheck and then sends it to the Revenue department. It is the DOR’s responsibility then to send the child support to the custodial parent. This so-called income assignment, though, may be modified or suspended depending on the agreement of the parents or court order.