Debunking The Most Common Myths About Child Support

If you're in the process of going through a divorce as a parent, then one of the unfortunate circumstances you'll likely have to face is that of determining who will pay child support and how much needs to be paid. This can be a very complicated aspect of any divorce, but it's important for both divorcing parents to understand the facts behind some of the most common child support myths out there.

Myth 1: Child Support Isn't Needed in Joint Custody Situations

Some divorcing parents assume that because they're making a joint custody arrangement, there will be no need for either party to pay child support. In reality, this usually isn't the case. Joint custody refers to any situation where both parents share time with the child. However, unless the time shared is 50/50 and both parents make the same income, the formula used to determine child support payments will still mandate that one parent make a monthly child support payment.

Myth 2: Divorcing Parents Can Agree on Their Own Child Support Figures

If the divorce is amicable, you and the other parent can simply agree on a monthly child support arrangement...right? Not so fast. All child support arrangements need to go through the court, and the court will use a universal algorithm to determine who needs to pay child support and how much based on a number of factors, including:

  • income of each parent
  • time spent with child in custody
  • health and dental insurance costs for the child
  • travel expenses 

Myth 3: Paying Parents Have a Right to Know How the Money Is Spent

If you're the one who will be paying child support to the other parent, of course you want to make sure that the money you're sending is actually being used on your child. Unfortunately, the parent receiving the payment is under no legal obligation to prove to you how that money is being spent, so long as he or she is meeting basic standards of living and care for your child.

Myth 4: Child Support Is Paid Until the Child Reaches Age 18

You might also assume that you no longer have to worry about collecting or receiving child support payments once your child reaches adulthood (the age of 18). However, keep in mind that if you have any delinquent payments, these may still need to be paid out until the child reaches the age of 19 (if still in high school), depending on the state in which you live. 

For more information about child support payments, contact an experienced lawyer like Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law