Divorces are difficult – they are emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
Things get even more complex when children are involved in the mix.
When a couple with one or more children splits, one of the first concerns to be addressed is child support.
But as with any other issue in divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for establishing who will shoulder the burden of financial support for the children.
Even so, if you’re going through a divorce and have children, the following points may help you gain some perspective on what to expect.
1. There Is No National Law Governing Child Support
Each state has its own standards, formulas, and techniques for estimating assistance.
In Texas, for example, the non-custodial parent typically pays a fixed percentage of net income, whereas, in Illinois, the court uses a very complex calculation that takes into account the parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the cost of living to establish how much it costs to support a child.
Cases in two different states can have vastly different outcomes.
So, just because your sister in Chicago receives a specific amount of child support does not imply that you are guaranteed to receive the same.
It is critical to involve an expert divorce attorney to understand the many types of child support models and determine which one your state follows.
2. Child Support Is Modifiable (Until Terminated)
Child support payments might be increased or decreased based on circumstances.
Most courts would define a shift in circumstances to be anything from the obligor parent becoming unemployed, to the child becoming sick with increased expenses, or a parent being promoted and receiving a salary boost.
Any modification in child support payments, even if mutually decided by parents, must be documented in writing and approved by the court.
If deemed necessary, divorced parents can always go back to court to change their child support agreement.
3. Child Support Is Prioritized Over Spousal Support
In many circumstances, the spouse receiving spousal support simultaneously also receives child support.
However, keep in mind that child support normally takes precedence over spousal support.
Suppose the court later decides that child support payments can be cut. In that case, spousal support is frequently reduced as well—this is one reason why one parent cannot individually change the predetermined conditions of child support.
Child support can be a very stressful matter during a divorce.
It is fully possible for both parents to feel disadvantaged, regardless of the arrangement. Nonetheless, many conflicts can be resolved as long as the children’s best interests are prioritized.
If you’re planning a divorce or are already in the midst of one, reach out to Franks & Rechenberg, P.C.
Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you cope with the complications of child support arrangements and make the process a little less stressful for you.
Book a consultation today!