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Tips on Paying for Child Support

Posted in On June 1, 2017

In a divorce settlement, couples with children face extra challenges. Child support arrangements are designed to provide for the needs of children after the parents have separated. Part of this arrangement hinges on who is responsible for paying and how much monthly support payments will be.

What if you don’t earn any income or can’t afford the terms of the child support arrangement? Here is some information that can help you make critical decisions as the divorce settlement proceeds.

Determining Child Support

When determining appropriate child support arrangements in a divorce, several factors are at play. These factors include earnings of each parent, such as wages, bonuses, government benefits, and interest. If one of the parents has no source of income, the court may use information such as the parent’s prior work history and/or the parent’s earning capacity to make tough decisions. In most cases, even if you don’t have any income to show, you may still be obligated to make monthly contributions to the child’s care. That obligation amount may be based on the work you’ve done in the past, your ability to work, and the opportunity for you to find future employment.

Dodging Child Support Obligations

In order to avoid paying child support, some parents may choose to quit their job or to remain unemployed. Divorce courts typically frown on this behavior and may order child support based on what is called “imputed income”. The word “imputed” means an estimate of what the parent should be expected to earn and how available employment may be. When a divorce court renders a decision on child support, the goal is to protect the child’s best interests and will factor in the child’s financial needs as part of the child support agreement.

What if you can’t Afford Child Support Payments?

In a number of divorce cases, one or both parents may not be able to afford the child support payments mandated by the court. In these cases, trying to casually modify the arrangements with the spouse or skipping payments altogether are tactics that some parents try. Neither are safe or legal courses of action. For child support modifications, informal arrangements are not allowed; only court-approved modifications are possible. Being delinquent on payments can result in expense legal penalties and court costs. If you find that you still can’t meet your financial obligations, it is critical to speak with an experienced family attorney to discuss the options available to you.