Child Support

Practice Area

A parent who is the non-custodial parent of a child is obligated to financially support the child through payments to the custodial parent. There is method of calculating support based on the following information:

Gross annual income of the non-custodial parent
Gross annual income of the custodial parent
Number of children for whom support is being calculated
Age of oldest child (if less than 18)
Annual cost of daycare
Weekly cost of family group health insurance with maximum of $100
Parent responsible for health insurance

The more children you have, the more the support will be, though it will not necessarily be double or triple the amount if you had one child.

If you and the other parent have joint custody or equal parenting time, there is a “cross guidelines” calculation where the higher earner will pay a certain amount to the other.

Child support typically terminates when the child turns 18, but may be extended to age 23 if the child is living at home and attending college or receiving vocational training. It can terminated before age 18 if the child is emancipated.

Also, the payor cannot use child support as a tax deduction, although the support the recipient receives is not taxable income.

Consequences of Not Paying Support Obligations

If you are ordered to pay support and you fail to do so, the court will act to seize your bank account or issue a withholding order to your employer. You also risk having your driver’s license suspended along with your professional license.

Continued failure to pay can result in the court finding you in contempt for willful disobedience of a court order and require you to pay a certain amount within a period of time. If the amount is not paid, or you repeatedly fail to meet your financial obligations, you can be incarcerated. Your release may be dependent on a “purge” amount for you to pay before being released.

The custodial or recipient parent cannot deny visitation or parenting time to the non-paying parent. The custodial parent must request a protective or restraining order showing that the parent poses a high degree of risk to the safety or well-being of the child. Usually, this is based on criminal activity, extreme drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, sexual assault, or other domestic violence including emotional abuse.
The custodial or recipient parent cannot deny visitation or parenting time to the non-paying parent. The custodial parent must request a protective or restraining order showing that the parent poses a high degree of risk to the safety or well-being of the child. Usually, this is based on criminal activity, extreme drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, sexual assault, or other domestic violence including emotional abuse.

Child Support Modification

You cannot seek modification of a child support order until 3-years has passed since the order went into effect. The modification can be an increase or a decrease, but you must show that there has been a material or substantial change in circumstances since the original order took effect. This can include:

Change in custody or parenting time

Change in child care expenses

A child has been emancipated

A parent has been incarcerated or has been released from incarceration

A parent or child has a disability

There has been a material change in employment

Retain Snook Law

Child support, though determined by statutory guidelines, often entails other issues that require legal representation. An experienced family lawyer from Snook Law can explain what situations might cause a deviation from the guidelines or what qualifies as a circumstance that would modify the order, and file a request for you. If you are having difficulties making support payments, we can advise you on what course of action to take.

Your Snook lawyer can also clarify the terms of a child support order, collect and enforce payment obligations, and ensure that all child support rights are protected.