Whether you are paying or receiving child support, you should know the facts and consider seeking help from a family lawyer Baltimore offers.
- How is the amount of child support determined?
The amount of child support is mainly determined by state and federal guidelines and laws. The formula used by said guidelines and laws consider the following factors: income of both parents, other children in the household, health and medical expenses (included but not limited to doctor visits, dental and vision appointments and needs, mental health needs and health insurance cost), educational costs and general living expenses for a child of that specific age.
- What happens if I miss a payment?
Child support is a court-mandated requirement. Therefore, if you miss any payments you will be required to pay in full and in some states, you will have to pay interest and possibly fees. If you miss numerous payments, you may face jail time as there will likely be a warrant for your arrest.
- What if we have shared custody?
The court will consider the custody arrangement when the child support amount is determined. Most states will look at the amount of overnight time the child spends in each home and the income of both parents when determining the amount owed and which parent is obligated to pay.
- How long are payments expected?
Child support payments are required until the child reaches the age of majority which varies by state. The age can range from 18 to 21 years old.
- What if I move out of the state?
You will still be obligated to pay the full amount each month as outlined in the child support agreement, regardless of where you live.
- What if I have another child?
The court does understand that life changes occur. Most state laws and guidelines consider a new child for which a parent also pays support to be a legitimate change in circumstances. However, you will need to file a motion to modify the original amount.
- Does the agreement have to be through family court?
The paperwork for the child support agreement will need to be processed through family court in your state. However, if both parents agree on the amount, a judge is unnecessary in that part of the process.
- What if I lose my job?
If your income drastically changes due to the loss of your job or you are hurt and cannot work, you can file a motion to modify the amount required in the child support order. You will need to prove the change in your income to the judge.
- If I am awarded a modification to the amount I owe, when does it start?
In the event that the family court judge awards you a modification, it will begin on the date that you filed the motion. For this reason, it is important that you file right away when your circumstances change as the judge cannot go back any further than that date.
- What if I declare bankruptcy?
Child support is considered a priority debt and as such, you are still required to pay the court-mandated amount despite filing for bankruptcy.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into criminal defense and child support.