Figuring out how to pay for child-related expenses in a family after parents break up can be a major challenge. Before you talk with a child support law attorney, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself a bit with how the system works.
The Different Child Support Models
Models for how parents will pay child support can be broken up into roughly three types: the income shares model, the percentage of income model, and the Melson formula model. Forty states use the income share system, one based on the percentage of income each parent would've contributed if the family were intact. The percentage of income model is used in seven states, and it seeks a percentage of money only from the noncustodial parent. In the Melson formula used by three states, there is accounting for the needs of the children and both parents. You can check this list to see which method your state employs.
Making Adjustments Over Time
The American legal system does not presuppose that parents will pay the same amount in support over the entire time a child is being raised. Incomes can change, and the financial needs of a child can shift, too.
Seeking adjustments to existing court orders is one of the biggest reasons folks go to child support services firms for help. If a family court has rejected a request or imposed a change that you think is unjust, you may need to retain counsel in order to address the situation. It's a good idea if you have a hearing coming up on the subject of an income-based adjustment to bring a child support law attorney with you.
How Long Must Child Support Be Paid?
A major mistake that many people make is assuming that once a child turns 18, they're off the hook for support. In most states, child support must be paid for the duration of the kid's primary and secondary school education. There are also states that require parents to pay out child support for college students until they hit the age of 21. If you haven't set up an education account for your child, it's wise to do so in advance.
Another source of conflict is non-payment. If you clearly have good cause for not paying, contact the family court system immediately. If you don't, then start paying and retain counsel while you appeal the court order.
To learn more, get in touch with a child support law attorney.