Child support can be a complicated, and often misunderstood, system. While every case is unique and should be discussed with an experienced family law attorney to fully understand the complexities and implications, there are some recurring myths that appear in many cases.
MYTH: A parent does not get to see his/her children unless she/he is current on child support payments.
TRUTH: A child has the right to parenting time and child support from both of his/her parents. The custodial parent may not refuse the non-custodial parent visitation due to non-payment of child support, nor may the non-custodial parent refuse to pay child support due to the custodial parent’s interference with visitation.
MYTH: Only fathers have to pay child support.
TRUTH: Either a mother or father can be ordered to pay child support.
MYTH: Child support payments are automatically divided equally among the parents.
TRUTH: Child support payments may take into account a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the income levels of both parents.
MYTH: Quitting a job to take a position with less pay will reduce child support payments.
TRUTH: If the courts find that a parent is voluntarily underemployed, they may calculate child support based on that parent’s potential income.
MYTH: Child support payments will decrease if the custodial parent remarries, and/or increase if the non-custodial parent remarries.
TRUTH: Typically, child support is the responsibility of the birth and/or adoptive parents of the children, not the step-parents.
MYTH: Child support payments must be spent directly on the children.
TRUTH: Child support payments are expected to be used for the child’s basic expenses, including food, clothing, housing, and educational needs, and may also be used to pay for the child’s related housing costs, such as telephone and utility bills, and for work-related childcare expenses. In Massachusetts, the courts will not require a parent to prove that child support payments are going to any specific expenditure.
If you are paying child support or you are receiving child support payments and you have experienced a significant change in your financial circumstances or your children’s needs have changed due to educational, health or other important reasons.
You may want to increase or reduce your child support obligations for a variety of reasons such as having necessary expenses that have not been accounted for or having a disability that affects your ability to seek or continue employment.
Perhaps you have not as yet finalized your divorce and are seeking to get child support while your divorce is pending. Whatever the case may be, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to get your situation evaluated by an attorney who will help to ensure that your children obtain the support that they require.