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An overview of common child support questions

Child support is one of those complicated areas of family law that befuddles many clients. Child support is a method of financial transference of wealth from one parent to the other parent for the care of their mutual child. Child support is paid by the spouse that spends the least time with the child to the parent who spends the most time. In theory, that means that parents who equally split time with the child should never owe child support. But in practice, that is usually never true because hardly any couple ever splits time with the children exactly 50/50. This post will go over child support and some common questions people have about it.

First, keep in mind that child support is different from spousal support. You cannot negotiate child support independently of the court. The judge is usually required to apply some guideline or formula to calculate the support arrangement. Furthermore, you cannot modify child support without input from the court. Essentially, spousal support can be entirely within the control of the couple while child support is controlled by the judge.

But, while the judge sets the child support, the other parent is the one who is entitled to collect you. You may not trust the other spouse and therefore want to avoid paying him or her directly, however, that is nearly impossible. Minor children are not permitted to receive financial payments except in rare circumstances. The most common example is a child who emancipates herself. Additionally, adult children who attend college are still entitled to child support, so they can also receive their funds directly.

As you can see, child support is a complex issue to unpack. If you are going through a divorce, you may want to consult with a lawyer if you are contesting child support. An attorney can ensure that you present every viable argument and fact in your favor. Child support is about ensuring that the correct amount of money is awarded to care for the child and keep the parents out of poverty.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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