Understanding the basics of child support is important to pursue financial help. Let’s dive into what child support is, how a judge determines the amount, if it can be modified, and more:
What is child support?
Child support is financial assistance that is owed from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help with the financial costs of raising a child.
How does a judge determine the amount?
There is no set formula that will calculate the amount of child support a non-custodial parent must pay. Each case is unique; therefore, a judge will consider many different elements of the case to determine the child support amount. A judge will look at factors such as:
- Age of the child
- Both parent’s income
- Financial obligations from a previous marriage
- Needs of the child
- Supplemental finances
- & More
Does making child support payments mean I have the right to visit my child?
No, child support and visitation do not affect each other. In your child support case, the court will make separate decisions about how much financial assistance you will owe to the custodial parent and how much time you are entitled to during visitation.
How long will I have to pay child support?
In most cases, the non-custodial parent will have to pay child support until the child is 18. However, exceptions occur that may permit you to stop payments such as the child marries, emancipates himself from his parents, or passes away.
What is the child support petitioning process?
The petitioning process can be broken down into four steps:
- Confirming the non-custodial parent
- Petitioning the court
- Resolving paternity issues
- Referring the case to an Enforcement Agent (if applicable)
The length of time it takes to complete the petitioning process depends on a variety of factors. An experienced family law attorney can help you with this process.
Can the amount of child support I pay/receive be modified?
The amount of child support you pay/receive can be modified in certain situations such as a medical emergency, disability of a parent, loss of employment, or remarriage. However, two years must have passed since the judge ordered the initial child support before you can petition for a modification.