Child support is often a hot topic among divorcing parents, because one parent may want significant support for their children while the other isn’t sure how they’re going to pay and make ends meet.
It’s important to understand that child support is certainly based on the needs of your children, but it also has to be fair to the parent who has to pay. They shouldn’t be placed in a position where they can’t afford to eat or pay rent because of support, but they also should pay enough that your children are well cared for.
Child support should be fair
Child support payments should be fair. A person who earns $1,000 bi-weekly is unlikely to be able to afford to have a home and to pay their bills with child support payments of $1,000 a month. Similarly, someone earning $3,000 bi-weekly shouldn’t necessarily get away with paying $25 or $30 a paycheck to their children. Child support should be fair, which is why child support guidelines are available in most states.
Based on the guidelines, you’ll know exactly how much you would be expected to pay based on the state’s calculations. If you sit down and figure out that amount, you can offer to pay it to the other parent and settle on a payment amount outside of court. However, if it’s still too much, then you may need to make an offer that you can afford and see if the other parent is willing to take it. Negotiating with the custodial parent is a good way to reduce what you owe when times are tough, such as if you have a lower paycheck than normal.
Remember, child support is income-driven. That means that any changes in your income could impact how much you’ll need to pay. If you lose your job or take a job with a lower salary, then you may want to seek a modification of the child support order that is in place. By modifying it, you may be able to pay less in the future. Don’t stop paying what you owe until the court approves a new plan.