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How to Navigate the Murky Waters of Divorce - Part Three

Posted on in Divorce

child-placementSix Tips for Dealing with Child Support

Next to the custody and placement of children, child support is often one of the most contentious issues in a family law case. The amount of child support to be paid in most situations is determined by a complicated formula that factors in the amount of placement time allocated between the parents (generally, overnight periods) and the income of both parents. The court may also consider other factors when they have a significant impact on raising the children including, the cost of medical care coverage, child care expenses and any special needs the child may have. You can avoid many of the pitfalls common to child support disputes by considering the following six tips:

  1. Determine a placement schedule -This should be based on what works best for the parents and the children withoutconsidering the impact on child support.
  2. Be honest about your income - If you are self employed or have the ability to manipulate the amount of commissions or overtime, be honest and open. You are simply prolonging the fight as there is an ongoing duty to disclose income after the divorce.
  3. Don't buy their affection - One of the intentions behind the child support calculation is to create relatively equal financial households so that neither party has a financial advantage. Never attempt to buy the children's affections with extravagant gifts; thereby increasing your placement time and reducing your child support obligation.
  4. Do your part with the extra expenses - Each parent incurs variable expenses beyond the amount of child support. Variable expenses can include but is not limited to child care, tuition, special needs, activities such as camp, music lessons, sports and any other expense that involves substantial cost. Pay your share of these expenses. In addition it is important to communicate with the other parent before you enroll your children in activities, especially if they involve substantial cost (or infringe on placement time).
  5. Remember it is about your child - Child support is intended to assist with meeting the needs of the children. Don't waste the money or use it to supplement your lifestyle.
  6. Communicate any changes in your financial status - If you are unable to pay your full obligation deal with the problem immediately. Failure to do so could compromise your position in court later. Child support can be modified when you have a substantial (defined by the circumstances in each case) change in your financial situation. The court does not have the authority to modify child support retroactively (in most circumstances).

Payment of child support is for the benefit of the children. It is intended to assist in providing children with needs such as a proper home, food and clothing and the other necessities required to raise children. Nobody expects you to be happy about paying it but you should always pay your obligation in full and on time.

Divorce and family law issues can be very emotional and complicated matters.  When it doubt, consider seeking the assistance of experts such as the dedicated family law team atGimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP.

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