Child support tends to have a number of myths associated with it. Failure to clear up these myths can lead to financial trouble for the child and custodial parent and legal trouble for the court-ordered payer. Below are three common child support myths and the facts behind them.
Myth #1: As Soon as the Child Turns 18, Child Support is No Longer Paid
While your child may legally be considered an adult on their eighteenth birthday, the age of 18 doesn't always mean child support ends. States vary in their child support laws which means final child support payment age can range from completion of high school to age 22 if the child is enrolled in an accredited educational program.
While child support may end, keep in mind that other financial obligations, such as college support, may be required. College support can be a part of child support obligations, but they can also be a separately agreed upon support that was decided prior to divorce finalization.
Myth #2: Back Payments Don't Have to Be Paid After Child Support Payments Stop
The age that signals the end of child support obligation may not always mean the end of your required child support payments. If you didn't pay the entire amount ordered by the court, or you fell behind on your payments for whatever reason, you're still required to pay support until the back payments are paid in full.
Back payments aren't payments for an adult child. Instead, you're repaying your ex-partner for the times they stepped in and covered the financial gap caused by your non-paid child support. Back payments may also include interest and failure to pay will continue to increase the amount owed. Failure to pay can also result in a number of consequences, such as loss of your license and even jail time.
Myth #3: Filing for Bankruptcy Relieves Child Support Obligations
There are a few debts that cannot be discharged after bankruptcy has been filed, and child support is one of those. While technically a debt in that you owe a specified amount of money each month to certain individuals, it isn't a debt in the traditional sense. Financial support of children is an obligation and not something that can be dismissed or otherwise done away with.
While bankruptcy may not allow for dissolution of your child support obligations, it can help to free up more money each month to meet that obligation. If, for example, a lot of your money was tied up in paying medical debts or credit cards and after bankruptcy your debts are dissolved, you now have more money available to put towards your required child support payments.
Financial obligation to children doesn't end upon divorce or separation. To learn more about your child support payments and the laws surrounding them, consult with law firms like Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.