Child support is an amount of money that is used to help support your child in the event that you and your child’s mother/father get divorced or are separated. Child support is a legally binding agreement that is ordered by a judge and that, if you fail to pay, can have negative repercussions.
How Does Child Support Work?
As both parents are responsible for providing for their child financially, child support attempts to create a monetary balance in the event of a couple’s separation or divorce. The partner that retains custody of the child usually incurs the majority of child-rearing costs; as such, the partner that does not have custody of the child is responsible for paying child support. Child support is mandatory regardless of whether or not a couple was ever married.
The amount of money that you will have to pay for child support each month varies depending on the state you live in, your personal finances, and the circumstances of the case. Because the amount of child support is usually up to the discretion of the judge, retaining an experienced divorce and child support attorney can help ensure that you receive a fair deal. Generally, child support payments are required until the child reaches the age of eighteen or until the child graduates high school–whichever comes later. The court that sets the amount of child support required will also set up a schedule of required payments. These payments must be made on time every month and be paid in the full amount.
Defaulting on a Child Support Payment
Failing to pay child support on time or in the correct amount puts you in violation of a court order. Therefore, by failing to make your child support payments, you’re putting yourself at risk for a number of consequences.
If you default on your child support payments, a judge can file an enforcement order. An enforcement order will include a judgment for money owed.
Consequences of not paying your child support payment on time or in the full amount can result in garnishing your wages, withholding your tax refund, seizing your property, suspending your driver’s license, suspending your business license, or even jail time.
Avoiding Legal Consequences
It’s not uncommon for circumstances surrounding your child support payments to change. For example, maybe the amount of child support was set at a time when you were making more money than you are currently. In cases such as these, it is possible to ask a judge to reconsider the payment amount based on circumstances. However, only a judge can make any and all modifications or changes to your child support payment. Therefore, if you’ve experienced a change of circumstances, you must begin the process immediately to avoid defaulting on your payments.
In order to avoid legal consequences, make sure that you always pay your child support on time, and avoid getting behind in your payments. Additionally, if you have any past-due payments, try to get them paid as soon as possible to avoid further negative outcomes.
If you change jobs or addresses, immediately file any changes with the court that established your child care payments. If you have any problems with making payments, call your child support agency immediately.
For more questions about child support payments, or if you’re in need of a divorce or child support lawyer, call the experienced team at Wall & Wall, P.C. today