If you are undergoing a divorce, child support is one crucial issue that you and the court will handle. Note that child support is not monetary support for the custodial parent, but it is the monetary support that will maintain your child’s lifestyle.
Many people assume that custodial parents never pay child support. However, if there is a considerable gap between the income of the two parents, the court will require the parent with more income to pay the support. The reason for expecting parents to pay child support is to maintain the living standards of the child, even after divorce, and to ensure the custodial parent doesn’t carry all the responsibilities.
There are no standard rules for calculating child support. For this reason, it is easy for a parent to feel the process of determining child support has been unfair. To eliminate the question of unfairness, courts use the guidelines provided by the state and only deviates from the guidelines when necessary. Fortunately, parents have the freedom to agree on the matter to prevent the court from deciding on the issue. Here are some considerations that will inform a court’s decision on child support.
Child Support is Adjustable
Courts make various considerations when calculating the amount of money a parent will pay towards supporting their child. To prevent unfairness, they apply a formula that puts multiple factors into a review. One of the considerations is the income of each parent. The other things the court will consider are medical care expenses, spousal support, support for other children, dependents, child care costs, and overnight visits. Courts will put the living standards of the child before the divorce and the ability of the parent to pay into consideration. The formula used to arrive at a decision is irrelevant. The important thing is for parents to support their kids financially.
Take note that monetary support going to the child is modifiable, so a parent may request the court to alter the amount by increasing or decreasing it. The modification is possible if one parent or the other is experiencing a significant change in circumstances. A court will consider a modification if:
- The income of a parent has considerably increased or reduced
- Health insurance costs have significantly increased or reduced
- A parent’s responsibility has changed either because of change in child custody or visitation hours
- A parent has witnessed a significant change in finances or other life circumstances
If you are at issue with child support payment, hiring a San Diego family law lawyer will make a huge difference. This is because child support regulations keep changing, and an experienced attorney will be up to date with the changes to ensure maximum monetary support for your child or a reasonable amount for the parent paying the support.
Child Support Comes Before Spousal Support
The custodial parent is usually the one that receives spousal support. Although this may be the case, it’s wise noting that child support will always come first over the financial support going to the other parent. Even if a court lowers the payment of child support, spousal support will also be modified through a reduction. It is for this reason that no parent can change child support on their own without involving the other parent.
No Tax Implications for Child Support
Child support is exempted from the tax scheme for both the payer and recipient. This means that when the recipient collects the payment, the money will be exempted from tax. In the same way with the payor, he or she cannot deduct the child support from taxes.
If the parents are sharing custody 50/50, there will be tax consequences of either or both legal guardians. The tax exemption can only apply to one parent because the child is presumed to depend solely on one parent. So, where parents have equal custody, the ex-spouse who spends more time with the child during the year takes the exclusion from the tax scheme. When multiple children are involved, the parents can split the exemptions or trade exemptions. Either parent must have physical custody of the child for six months to be eligible for the exemption.
The Child’s Wellbeing Come First
Divorce is a complex process, and no matter what parents agree on, both may feel disadvantaged when it comes to the issue of child support. No matter how contentious the issue is, parents should put the well-being of the child first. In case you are planning to legally separate, or you’ve already begun the process, talking to a San Diego family law lawyer will help with the preparations for child support issues.