Child Support 12

About: Child Support

Providing for the Child(ren)

When sole custody is awarded to one parent, the other parent is referred to as the secondary caregiver and may or may not be awarded visitation rights.

Because the custodial parent bears the financial responsibility for the child, the secondary caregiver is typically required to pay child support, a fixed amount designed to help pay the various expenses associated with raising children. This requirement may be ordered even in cases where no visitation is awarded and does not stop if the custodial parent interferes with visitation rights.

Child support usually lasts until the child reaches the age of majority and it is not gender specific – a mother can be required to pay child support if the father has sole custody of the child.

Child support can also cease if the child enters active military duty, if the secondary caregiver terminates their rights as a parent or if the child has been emancipated by the courts, meaning he or she has been declared an adult.

If the child has special needs such as a mental or physical disability, child support may be required beyond the age of majority.

Unlike alimony, child support is not tax-deductible and the receiving parent does not have to pay taxes on the income. Why? Because child support is designed to replace the additional resources lost when the parents divorced. If you were still married, you wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of little league uniforms or a new dress for the prom. As a parent it is your responsibility to provide financially for your child, whether he lives with you or not.

Child Support Laws and Regulations

Child support is regulated by state law and by federal law, specifically the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. This act allows district attorneys to pursue and if necessary, incarcerate non-paying parents.  The government actually has several tools at its disposal for child support enforcement.

The laws also allow tax returns, employment wages and property owned to be seized as payment for back child support. When dealing with a non-paying parent that has moved out-of-state, custodial parents can work through their local court system to enforce the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This act allows courts in different jurisdictions to work together to enforce a legal order of child support. If your court has personal jurisdiction over your spouse, it can issue an order that requires your spouse to appear and make payment. In the event your court does not have personal jurisdiction, it can forward the order to the state where the non-paying spouse resides and allow a court in that jurisdiction to handle the enforcement.

In addition to these laws, Congress also passed the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act in 1998 that makes the intentional refusal to pay out-of-state child support a felony crime.

In the event that a parent becomes unable to pay child support, a temporary modification should be sought from the court as quickly as possible. Events such as an illness, injury or loss of job are good examples of qualifying incidents that would entice a court to temporarily reduce or halt your responsibility to pay support. This modification is only good for future payments however, so you won’t get any relief for any back payments that are owed.

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  • Dawn

    How can I get my child support modified if the person is in the military stationed overseas? I have called the state agency that the child support was enforced in and because he has an APO address they can not do anything. I have called the state I currently live in and they say as long as he lives overseas nothing can be done. Well he knows that and has been there for 18 years ( he has that choice because of his job) so my son is 16 and is still getting CS payments based on E5 pay from 1998 ($318) where the dad is now a W4 making $5900. So, how do I get it modified before it’s too late?

    • Sean

      The best thing that you can do is contact his command. For instance while I was attached to a submarine in Groton, CT, you would have went to the base personnel office or the command building. If you get in contact with his commanding officers office things will happen quickly. The best way to deal with a spouse in the military that is doing stuff like this is to use their chain of command against them. If you know what command he is attached to (you should be able to figure it out by the FPO/APO address) you can look them up online and send an email to the command. I hope this helps you.

  • julie

    if i’m getting married to someone who owe’s child support. can i use a prenup to protect my wages?

    • Julie,

      Each state will have different enforcement regulations regarding “prenups.” In what state are you planning to wed?

  • I was married twice and had a child with both wives. I currently pay CS on my 2nd child that was born from my 2nd marriage but had not paid on the first child. Due to the first ex-wife disappearing with my child over 14 years ago. Now after all this time I received a letter from the State of California stating she the first wife is now seeking CS. I need to know if I will need to obtain a lawyer to adjust the payments for both children? I do not make much money and cannot afford to pay both requested. How do I proceed?

  • Jones4kids

    How can I get back child support when the children are now grown. I am still however trying to help them through college and with their families. I am receiving a very little amount each month. I suffered a lot of financial hardship while raising them. As a result I am not where I should be financially, although I have been working throughout their childhood.

  • My fiance has 4 kids. He has always provided for them and does pay child support monthly and has his wages garnished every other week. 3 of his children are getting ready to graduate in the next year. 1 is graduating this year. He also has a 5 year daughter with his ex wife who already receives $550.00 (which is the max amount she could receive based on her last conference they had 3 months ago) per month in child support and is taking him back again for more money because his one child is coming off of child support this month. She states her income has decreased. She is bitter towards him for whatever reason and she is just being spiteful but knows how to play the system. He is a good father and takes his kids every other weekend and provides for them. Can she keep taking him back everytime a child is emancupated from the system and what is considered to be a considerable drop in income to have this number flucuate and change?

  • Abandoned

    I married a man, who was previously divorced and had one child. I met him at church he and his parents attended. The moment I married him I knew he had mental health issues but couldn’t put my finger on it. He became verbally abusive and ultimately physically abusive. We separated and he agreed to get counseling, etc. After three months apart he came back and I thought we could work it out. Not so. The verbal abuse became worse after a short respite. I was now pregnant. His work history was very unstable and he had alcohol and OTC drug addictions. His family could not see any of this and stayed away. After the birth of our child his threats became almost daily about him leaving, etc. One day I told him to go and not to come back until he had undergone psychiatric evaluation and therapy. That was almost four years ago. He has routine outbursts on email and phone messages (I have been advised by my counselor to avoid engaging him). The last time he visited his child was in 2009. He has never given me a dime for child support and told me to have my parents take care of me and the baby. Since he is mentally unstable I am reluctant to bring my case to court. He is a clever talker and I am afraid the judge/court will give him visitation even though it has been ill advised since he hasn’t seen the child since 2009. Can I collect back child support even though I was not divorced from him? He claims in his emails, which are very infrequent, that he wants to get back together because my income would enable us to have a good life, etc. I want to threaten him with a back child support order so I can have leverage in getting him to relinquish his parental rights. He has not seen this child since 2009 and then only for about 45 minutes in a supervised visitation setting. Is this abandonment? I cannot afford a lengthy court battle. I wanted to end this disaster of a marriage with a simple non-contested divorce but I will need leverage to get him to agree. He is delusional, does not deal with reality, only what he determines is real. Actually, he needs a lot of help but his family is full of pride and doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with him. My family has been supporting me and my child and life is tolerable for me with the exception of the cloud of this marriage hanging over my head. PS We went to several marriage counselors in the beginning and two of them advised us that this was not a marital problem it was a psychological problem on his part and they couldn’t help. They advised him to seek a Psychiatrist, at which he became enraged and stormed out.
    I’d appreciate any comments regarding my situation. I’m not divorced and my spouse has not paid anything toward the support of his child since he left over four years ago. What rights do I have on behalf of my child?

  • geary

    I adopted my wife’s daughter about 20 years ago. She was a difficult child to raise. She now has 2 kids which the state ended up taking from her. My wife and I now have temporary custody of her kids.Child services wants us to adopt them. I don’t think that’s a good idea in light of the fact our marriage has suffered in the last few years. If I were to adopt them and we were to divorce, would I have to pay child support?

  • Clinton Jackson

    I haven’t had a review since my case open in 2006 I’ve had 3 more kids and as of now unemployed I live in york pa my case is in ocala fl here we have local tax fed and state it’s a common wealth state I git the criteria to the t I was denied a downward mod no job 3 more kids higher cost if living in pa 3.7 tax rate a mod is to happen when thete is a substancial change again loss of income 3more kids a total of 5 and they told me based on minimum wage it would go up no job how more kids how would it go up I’m forced to deal with this the take everything I can’t afford a lawyer I can’t pay rent car insurance nothing I love my kids I shouldn’t have to suffer this way to take care of them my kids in fl I pAy 350 my 2 in pa 70 a month childsupport Florida has made it clear twice at my hearing s me or my new kids won’t b take. In consideration dor will not talk to me or answer any question about my case I’ve had requested audits after pYing support for years when it was found my kids were not with the mom that’s called fraud they looked over thAt in the court to there us. Certain amount of of money I should b left with to survive 60 dollars every 2 or a hundred or 150 every 2 weeks what rent can b payed with that and the person that caculated this must have been on drugs 419 dollars a mo I dnt c. A 419 dollar chk if my rent is 500 a mo and I make 8 hr that’s I would have to double that to pay 419 than 500 if I can’t take care of my self how ca I provide for them this is wrong

  • Jemy Maria

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  • Amy Crowder

    hello everyone I am new here and need some serious input please. Me and my ex husband divorced back in 2006 he had custody of our son and i faithfully paid child support. i walked out because i was young scared and needed to grow up and find myself. well me and my ex remained friends even know we were divorced. well i moved back to Kentucky to be closer to my Son who was 6 yrs old when I left now he’s 15. any how me and my ex husband have started seeing each other now for over a year and its going great. we are even thinking of getting remarried. my question is how can we go about getting the child support to stop since i am back in their lives? I a still paying it to this day but was wondering if someone could please give me some advice on this. And wanted to say it is possible to stay friends and maybe even fall in love again if you have faith and willing to retry. i look forward to any advice anyone can give me on this thanks and God Bless.