What is Child Support? Common Myths Debunked

There are many myths about child support.  In the dictionary, child support is defined as an on-going, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of their child.  Even though this definition seems straight forward, there are a lot of misconceptions about how child support works.  This blog post will analyze common myths about child support to explain further what child support is.

Myth #1: Child Support money is only for women, and they don’t spend it on kids

Child Support payments are payments that are usually made to the custodial parent, or the parent that has primary custody of the kids, for their expenses.  These expenses can be the children’s schooling, clothing, after school activities, health insurance, and medical expenses.  The calculation to determine the amount of child support is based on the child’s expenses.

Myth #2: I won’t be able to afford child support

Child support calculations are not random.  They are based on several factors; including your monthly income, tips, bonuses, commissions, interest from investments, and the amount of time that you spend with your kids.  Because the calculation is based on income, you will not be required to pay more than you make.  If there is a change in circumstances such as losing your job, or there is a major change in your finances, you can file to have the child support amount modified to fit your new income.

Myth #3: I don’t need to file anything with the court, our informal agreement is OK

Some parents work out the amount of child support between each other, without filing anything with the court.  This is a fine arrangement, but it is not necessarily the best idea.  First of all, these informal agreements are not enforceable.  If the other party does not pay, there is no way to force them to pay you.  If your child requires more financial support, there is no way to enforce a bigger child support award.  It is always best to work with an expert family lawyer to draft an enforceable agreement that is filed with the court.

Myth #4: Child support punishes fathers

Child support is not meant to punish anyone.  Child support is required to ensure that your children have all of their needs provided for.  Child support is not a tactic to hurt one parent, but is a program that helps support children and ensure that they have their needs financially covered.

If you have kids and are in the process of getting divorced, make sure you reach out to a Los Angeles family law attorney.  The family attorneys at Walzer Melcher LLP can answer questions specific to your case and help you navigate the child support process.

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