Every parent needs to support their children. If your spouse is going to have residential custody of your children, you may feel like he/she should pay for most of their needs, but this isn’t true. Both parents have a responsibility to make sure their children have everything they need. During a divorce, child visitation and support are often the most hotly debated issues. Here are five mistakes you need to avoid when dealing with child support payments.
- Keep your new love to yourself. Unfortunately, if you have a jealous ex, your new “friend” could cause him/her to either demand more money from you or to want to cut the amounts because he/she is angry and hurt that you have found new love. If at all possible, keep the details of your new life as private as possible.
- Hire a good attorney. While this may seem to be common sense, you need to make sure any attorney you hire is familiar with family law and has experience handling divorce cases with child support. A competent lawyer will help make sure you are not being taken advantage of when payment amounts are figured.
- Make “official” child support payments. Even if you and your spouse are on friendly terms, make child support payments in an official way. Let the court decide how much your payment should be and then have the money withdrawn from your pay and deposited into your ex’s bank. This may seem like a hassle, but if you and your ex ever become less friendly, he/she may claim you have never paid child support and demand years of back payments. Even if you have canceled checks that show you gave him/her money, the court will call that money a “gift” and not official payments. Always go through the courts for child support!
- Trying to “pay ahead.” Never try to pay more than you owe in the hopes that you can “pay off” child support payments earlier than your child reaching the age of maturity. The courts will count these payments as gifts to your ex or child and you will still be legally responsible for what you owe until the child is 18.
- Paying for extras in the hopes your payments will be lowered. Again, paying for other expenses your child incurs, such as sports or camps, will be considered gifts to your ex or your child and you will still be held responsible for the court – ordered amounts.
Child support is tricky in the best situations. You may think that you are paying too much, but you are responsible for supporting your child. Avoid these mistakes to keep from paying more than you need to.
If you are currently involved in a divorce and require legal guidance, before you spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, check out our ebook “The Child Support Manual.” This ebook describes the process of filing for child support, the facts the court will need to decide amounts, what you should expect and many other details about getting what you need for child supprt. Grab your copy here.