How Is Child Support Determined?
At its core, child support is determined by two factors: How much income each parent makes, and the amount of time (overnights) that the child or children have with each parent.
Child support agreements are decided before a judge in court, and can only be altered by returning to court with proven circumstances requiring a change in the agreement.
Each parent must provide proof of income in the form of pay stubs, bank statements, and/or tax returns in order for the court to determine the total dollar amount to be paid on a monthly basis. Any additional or unforeseen costs, such as medical bills or extracurricular activities, are negotiated separately from the main child support agreement.
How Does Custody Influence Child Support?
Custody, or the amount of time the child or children spends with each parent, has a large influence on the amount of child support required. Typically, the parent with less custody of the child or children will be the one required to pay child support. In cases of full custody being granted to one parent, the parent with no custody will be assessed child support payments by default.
If custody agreements are changed, this can in turn change the required child support payment. Any adjustment to the agreements, however, will once again need to happen before a judge in court.
What Happens If Child Support Isn’t Paid?
Failure to pay child support can lead to the revocation of the offender’s driver’s license, and in some cases can be as severe as jail time. Child support must be paid on a monthly basis, and it is the responsibility of the receiving party to contact Child Support Services (CSS) to report any failure of payment.
Unpaid child support does not go away; instead, a balance is created that may accrue interest until paid in full. Failing to pay child support could also lead to being found in contempt of court, which could result in jail time and/or fines, suspension of licenses, or loss of custody.
How a Child Support Lawyer Can Help
Negotiations about child support can quickly become emotional or stressful for the parties directly involved. Hiring a lawyer to help will not only make things easier on you, but will make sure that a fair agreement is reached. Our child support lawyers will negotiate the payments as well as the amount of time a parent is able to spend with their child.