Do you have to pay child support after a divorce?
In most divorce cases, if you are a custodial parent then you may be liable for your child until he or she can be self-sufficient. As a non-custodial parent, it is possible that you may be ordered to pay a certain amount of child support per month based on your income.
Sometimes, even the custodial parent may be responsible to pay a little bit of child support depending on the circumstances of your case. This is why it might be advised to hire a divorce attorney to offer legal help with your divorce and to possibly avoid the child support payments all together.
Getting legal advice from a divorce attorney
If you want to find out if you may be exempt from child support payments, then it might be a good idea to seek help from a lawyer. It can be in your best interest to also look for attorneys who are experienced in all aspects of family law. It is possible that as the non-custodial parent, you may have more at stake in the divorce case. It is generally advised to seek legal counsel who will defend you rigorously in your case.
Getting free legal help
There might be opportunities for you to seek out free legal representation at your local legal aid office. In some cases, you may have to speak with the child support enforcement agency if they are handling your situation. In general, you may need to figure out what evidence you will need to bring with you to court or the agency’s review.
Motion to modify custody arrangements
In general, the first step may be to submit a motion to modify your child support payments. You may need to explain why you can no longer support your child and your general circumstances that may prevent you from making these monthly payments. It might be a good idea to present proof of your statements as well.
Another plan of action to supplement your case may be to file for joint custody of your child. However, it can be advised that you might want to only consider this option if you genuinely want to be a part of your child’s life, versus just a method of getting out of child support payments when you otherwise financially stable. In some joint custody cases, the parent with the higher income might be more likely to pay child support.
The judge may take into consideration your relationship with your child and this might include past relations as well.
In any case, you may want to prepare to fully back up your claims in court with as much evidence as you can. When in the court room, you may want to present your side of the case as clearly as possible.
Inside divorce court
It might be important to also be honest about your relationship and finances and your answers to any of the judge’s interrogations. If you are looking to dispute that you are a biological parent, then you might want to prepare to take a blood test or DNA sample to confirm this claim. It might be a good idea to present this concern before the child support is ordered to avoid challenging the arrangements made later. If the judge denies your request, you may be eligible to get your child support payments reduced instead. However, this is often dependent on the other parent’s income. For example, it is possible that if the other parent’s income has increased significantly, then you may be able to get your monthly payments reduced.
Whatever you and the other parent decide concerning child support, it is generally a good idea to make sure that the agreement is in writing and that it is legally set in the presiding court or agency. Otherwise, if you decide to stop making child support payments on your own, then you be held in contempt and possibly convicted.