If you are in the midst of divorce proceedings and the two of you have children together, chances are child support is one topic that is being discussed quite often amongst you and your attorneys. Often the most litigated and contentious aspect of a divorce, child support is one area of divorce law that many people still know little about. To make sure you have a full understanding of how child support will pertain to your divorce, here are three things you need to know.
Each State Has Different Guidelines
First of all, remember that there are no national rules regarding child support payments. In fact, virtually all states have different guidelines, which can make it even more confusing during your divorce. Thus, if you have a family member or friend who tells you about child support they received in one state, do not assume you will get the same results. When a court begins to consider child support payments, it takes into account both parent’s income, expenses, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
Not All Expenses are Considered When Figuring Child Support
When a court begins the process of calculating just how much child support you may be required to pay your spouse each month, don’t assume that all of your monthly expenses will be taken into consideration. As you discuss this with your family law attorney, you will learn that while the court will look at the net income of each parent, expenses such as daycare costs and health insurance costs for your children will also be considered. However, if you are making a large mortgage payment or have significant credit card debt, don’t expect the court to order you to pay a lower amount of child support.
Not Paying Child Support is Serious
Once a court orders you to pay child support, you are strongly encouraged to meet your obligation month after month. If you don’t, serious consequences could follow. The court could choose to garnish your wages, seize your tax refunds, and possibly withhold unemployment or other government benefits. If you continue to not pay, you could even find yourself in jail. Should this happen, you also need to know that your child support payments will continue to accrue, meaning you’ll be even worse off than you were prior to going to jail.
As your divorce case proceeds, work closely with your family law attorney on the issue of child support. By doing so, you will know what is expected of you and the serious consequences that could follow if you don’t meet your court-ordered obligation.