Divorce Child Support Payments

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Child support is a matter of concern for the parents. Who will pay the support, who will keep the child, how will the payment be done, what will be the exact expenses, these questions haunt the mind of the parents as soon as they decide to file for a divorce. Some couples can resolve each issue related to divorce child support payments, while others have to fight their cases in the court. In USA the Federal government has mandated guidelines of child support that are utilized by all these states. The intention of doing so is that there must be predictability and consistency in the support amount ordered by various states. The details of the specific guidelines vary from one state to another.

In order to delve deep and gain a good understanding of child maintenance, one has to consider various aspects of the matter as described below:

Factors considered in Divorce Child Support Payments

The following points are taken into account while arriving at the figure of child subsidy that is to be paid:

  • The combined income of both the parents is calculated. A percentage of this combined income is the support amount. In some states net income is considered, while in others gross income is considered.
  • Let us think about a parent who is disbursing spousal support and/or child support related to a previous divorce. Usually, such parents are permitted to subtract this particular amount from their income. In order to be eligible for such a deduction, the following two conditions must be fulfilled:
    • The support payments must not be voluntary, but should be ordered by the court.
    • The parent must be actually disbursing the money.

    The deductions for the support of subsequent children or spouses are not permitted to be taken into account by any parent.

  • The child support order must specify which parent should take care of the health insurance of the child. This cost is added to the basic child subsidy order and credited to the obligor parent. The guidelines of some states mention that there must be additional payment to take care of out-of-pocket health care costs. On certain occasions, if there are extraordinary medical costs, then these are also taken into account.
  • In case of visitation, there are costs related to travel of the child or parent. These are distributed between the parents in the ratio of their income. At times there are unusual costs. For example, educational requirements of handicapped or gifted children. The NCP (non custodial parent) is given a credit for such costs that belong to the CP (custodial parent).

Modification of Divorce Child Support Payments

Each parent has the right to make a request for modification of child support that is to be disbursed for the well-being of the child. Further, the court arranges a hearing for modification. During such a hearing, both the father and the mother must present proof that a modification is essential as their conditions have been altered. Some of the proofs are as follows:

  • Medical records of any disability
  • Payroll check stubs
  • Termination letters
  • Tax returns
  • Receipt of government assistance like unemployment benefits

The authority to alter child maintenance rests with the judge or family support magistrate. It is observed that some parents accede to alter child support without approaching the court. Such an agreement cannot be enforced by law.

Some of the changes in circumstances due to which the court might modify the support amount are as follows:

  • The NCP becomes disabled
  • The NCP loses his/her job
  • The NCP gets an increment
  • The income of either parent is reduced.
  • The child becomes a major child.
  • The child inherits money.

Contempt of court for non-payment of Child Support Amount

It is observed that in many cases the non-custodial parent refuses to pay the child maintenance expenses even when they are doing the same job and their conditions has not changed. This act will be treated as a contempt of court and hence, the non-custodial parent can be sentenced to jail for a definite period.

If such circumstances crop up, the custodial parent can take the help of private agencies who will help them pursue the non-custodial parent. These agencies can use a number of enforcement tools like the suspension of the non-custodial parent's driver's license.

Child Support and Taxes

Whether you receive or pay support for your children, you have to adhere to the rules set up by the Internal Revenue Service. The non-custodial parent who is making the support payment cannot deduct the amount from income; and the custodial parent who is receiving the payment need not claim it as income. Thus support payments for your children are non-taxable.

Divorce child support payment is a complicated matter to discuss and understand. After taking a brief idea of what is mentioned here, you must consult your lawyer who will guide through the right way so that you can perform your legal duties.

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