10 Facts About Child Support You Need to Know

In News by YKF Law

Most know from the big screen that child support involves one parent who is financially responsible, usually the father, and the other parent, usually the mother, who has custody of the child/children. This story has played out in many popular films, even some that have won Oscars.

The idea that only the father pays child support while the mother has custody is a stereotype that is believed by many. On the contrary, there are many instances where fathers have primary custody of the children while mothers pay child support, and many more scenarios to disprove this stereotype.

If you’re considering filing for child support, dealing with a tough co-parent, or going through a divorce that involves child support, there are some facts you should know about it. Keep reading to learn ten facts about child support so you can be a little more prepared for your case.

What is Child Support?

Before we get into facts about child support, let’s discuss what exactly child support is.  Child support is payments one parent makes to the other parent to financially support their shared child/children. Though it’s a broad term, there’s plenty to understand about child support.

How is Child Support Determined?

Child support isn’t simply a check from the father handed over to the mother to cover their health insurance and food costs. In contrast, it’s an intricate process determined by the courts using Form 14, or the Child Support Amount Calculation Sheet. It’s complicated to figure out, but a child support attorney can simplify it and help.

The court determines the amount of child support based on both parents’ incomes from the Child Support Amount Calculation Sheet. Income plays a major role in who will be paying child support based on the following expenses and concerns: the child’s health, housing, education, daycare, and health insurance, to name a few. 

Every case is unique, and unlike Hollywood films, it isn’t always the father who makes the most money and pays child support. Did you know that 15% of child support payments are from women? Child support exists to allow the child or children to maintain the same standard of living as before their parents divorced. It isn’t gender specific and can be any parent’s responsibility.

10 Facts About Child Support

As previously mentioned, many factors determine who pays child support. There are state rules and procedures that need to be followed, and many other intricacies involved. Here are some facts about child support:

1. The Court can Modify an Established Child Support Order

Life is everchanging, and things happen. Sometimes employment changes, expenses increase, or an individual’s health becomes a concern. The court may modify an established child support order if substantial changes occur.

2. The Parent Making More Income Most Often Pays Child Support

One purpose of child support is to allow the children to enjoy the same financial circumstances as though the parents were still together,, so generally the parent who makes a higher income  most often pays child support. Of course, every case is different, but your attorney can help you determine who will most likely be ordered by a judge to pay child support.

3. Parentage Doesn’t Need to be Established in Missouri before Child Support is Established

The respondent in a paternity action (the potential father) isn’t required to submit to paternity testing if he acknowledges in front of the judge or commissioner that he is the biological father. If he doesn’t admit to being the father, the judge may order paternity testing.

4. Child Support is Not Tax Deductible

They’re also not taxable to the parent receiving the payments. However, the parent who pays child support could claim the child or children as a dependent(s). 

5. Child Support Doesn’t Always Terminate When the Child/Children Turn 18

There are circumstances where the court may order the noncustodial parent to continue child support payments after the child/children turn 18. If the child/children can’t be self-sufficient for health reasons or if they’re attending school full-time, child support payments may temporarily continue.

6. Child Support Includes Extracurricular Activities

If your child is involved in sports, teams, or any other extracurricular activity that involves a monetary donation or expense, it’s often included in child support. 

7. Failure to Make Child Support Payments has Serious Consequences

It’s unacceptable to miss court-ordered child support payments. If the parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to make payments, they face serious consequences. Their money could be seized, they could face liens, wage garnishment, and even incarceration in some cases.

If the parent can’t make payments because of a change in income or unemployment, they must contact their attorney or obtain relief from the court, not just stop making payments.

8. There are Multiple Ways to Collect Child Support

Payments from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent can be made in various ways. Payments may be collected directly from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent, withheld from a paycheck, or through the Missouri Department of Social Service’s Family Support Payment Center

9. Each State has Child Support Guidelines

There is no nationwide guideline for child support. Each state has its guidelines and practices. 

10. Unemployed Parents Still Need to Pay if Ordered by the Court

If the noncustodial parent is unemployed, whether they quit or were fired from a previous job, or haven’t recently been employed, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay child support. Employment history will be taken into consideration, and, if nothing else, the court will likely expect the parent to earn minimum wage and calculate child support from that.

There are many components to a child support case- no two are the same. If you’re currently going through a divorce or need help with child custody, the Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through the entire process. Our office is in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. In addition to our physical location, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we can meet in person or via Zoom.

With over fifty-three years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward. Our zealous attorneys will handle your case with expert knowledge and professionalism.