Child Support 101 – Understanding the Basics of Financial Obligations
Child support is money that one parent is required to pay to another for the purpose of providing financial support for their children. This is generally a court ordered amount that should cover all expenses relating to raising children, including shelter, food, clothing and medical expenses. While it is common for conflicts to arise, there are many steps that parents can take to ensure they are meeting their financial obligations and their children’s best interests.
1. Understand your Income
The first step in determining the amount of child support you owe is to calculate your gross income. This is the total amount of income you have earned minus certain deductions. These include taxes, unreimbursed business expenses, maintenance you pay to a spouse that is not a party to the action, public assistance, supplemental security income and other deductions.
2. Keep records of all payments made to the other parent
Keeping accurate and thorough records of all child support payments is essential for both the paying and receiving parent. It can help them avoid disputes, provide evidence in case of disagreements and protect against nonpayment claims.
3. Know Your Custody and Payment Terms
There are a variety of factors that may affect the child support you owe, including the physical and legal custody of your children. It is important to work with your attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities in this area so that you can make informed decisions regarding your child’s well-being.
4. Know Your Child’s Age and How Long You Owe to The Other Parent
In Texas, the obligation to pay child support typically ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. These include when the child is disabled and unable to support themselves, when the parent remarries, or when the child is emancipated from the parental home.
5. Know Your State’s Child Support Laws
Almost every state has its own child support laws, and it is always best to consult a local Miami-Dade County family lawyer for more information about the rules in your jurisdiction. If you have any questions about the financial obligations you are required to meet, contact us to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
6. Be Honest and Transparent About Your Financial Situation
When calculating your income, it is important to be honest about your current finances and any past or future debts you have. If you are unable to accurately report your income, it may result in penalties and an increased child support order. It is also important to maintain all your receipts and proof of payment.
7. Be Patient and Trust the Process
The child support process can be long and frustrating, but it should not cause you to lose hope or give up on your goals. By keeping your expectations realistic and working with your lawyer, you can make a positive impact on the lives of your children.