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Do you have to pay child support after a divorce?

Sep 8, 2021 | Divorce

If you have children and get a divorce, either you or your ex will need to pay child support depending on the specifics of your case. It is highly unlikely that both of you will be able to avoid paying, even if you agree that no payments are needed and share custody equally.

This is because children are expected to be loved and cared for, and financial support from both parents matters. Child support helps single parents raise their children, even if both parents do play a consistent role in their lives.

Parents are obligated to pay support

Even in a situation where custody is nearly equal, it’s likely that you or the other parent will have to pay support. For example, if you have custody 49% of the time and your ex-spouse has custody 51% of the time, there is a potential that you’ll have to pay child support.

Usually, it is the parent who is not the primary caregiver and custodian who receives support. If the other parent is ordered to pay, then they should pay on time weekly, biweekly, monthly or within the terms of whatever arrangement you have in place.

What happens if a parent loses their job or income?

When a reduction in income happens, the parent who paid support may need to ask for a modification. A modification of child support may be granted based on their new inability to pay.

Similarly, if the custodial parent loses their job, they may seek a greater amount of support. Alternatively, the noncustodial parent may seek a greater amount of custody and seek to have support stopped as the primary custodian. They may ask to take over caring for their children while the other parent looks for work.

Custody and support issues are often complex, and there is no easy way to know how much you or the other parent will need to pay until you go through your finances and personal situations. You may want to negotiate a fair support amount outside of court, or you may want to have representation while seeking what your children deserve in court.