Divorce is considered one of the most unpleasant events in everyone’s life. Then your life changes radically, because you have probably lived with one person for years or decades and shared good and bad. However, insurmountable problems arose and that is why you decided to leave the community called marriage.
The whole situation is further complicated when a divorcing couple has children. Then the most important topics are custody and alimony. Parents are required to pay child support as determined by the court. And the court’s decision is influenced by various factors, from whether guardianship is divided and so on.
Precisely because it is such an important topic, and there is no one general solution for each case, many misconceptions are related to this topic.
Every man you are speaking to about that topic is giving you different information and you don’t know what is true and what is not. This is especially problematic because it further complicates such a difficult period of life. So read what are the most common misconceptions about paying child support.
1. You are paying child support only until child turns 18
Many think that it is logical for them to stop paying this obligation once the child reaches the age of majority, which is when he or she turns 18 or 21. However, this is only the case in certain situations, for example if the child has completed his or her education and does not plan to go to college.
If he continues his education or, for example, is disabled, then you have to continue to pay alimony. In the case of disability or other illness, there is no age limit for the payment of this obligation, but it can be for life.
Rather, we could say that it stops when he gets the final diploma that he is pursuing, and not when he turns 18. In order for the kid not to abuse this help, if he does not have a disability, then at the age of 26 the obligation to pay support ceases even if he has not yet obtained a diploma.
2. You don’t have to pay it in case of shared custody
In the case of shared custody, also known as shared parenting, joint physical custody and under many other names is a court decision that the kid spends the same amount of time or approximately the same amount with both parents. Usually the limit is that he has to spend at least 40% with one parent in order to be considered shared custody. Many people think that there is no alimony payment for that reason, because they bear the costs when the child spends time with them.
That may certainly be the case, but it is not the rule. The various services in cooperation with the court examine the whole situation and then a decision is made. Factors such as the income of both parents, how much time the child spends with them, as well as many other factors are taken into consideration.
Then, if the court decides on child support, each parent will be prescribed the amount they have to pay. Then those two sums are deducted and the difference is paid by the parent who earns more. However, there are various legal and other concerns, so it is a very complex question where the answer varies from case to case. In the case of shared custody, many parents use applications like Dcomply, so to put end to the back and forth emails and texts.
3. The father is always the one who pays
While this is the case in most cases, there is no rule to confirm this. This is because more often mothers get custody which then means that the father is the one who has to pay the support. But also the father must receive custody, and the mother must pay. Another reason is that in most cases men earn more, so then alimony is determined by income. But all that is subject to change, as the court decides.
4. You can only spend money on children
Although the primary and practically the only purpose of this money is to provide wellbeing for children, it is not always the case that everything is spent only on them. That money must cover the cost of food, clothing and other primary necessities.
Still, it would be impossible for the courts or any other agency to keep a detailed record of how every penny was spent. That is why the courts do not check it, but the parent who received the money has a lot of freedom to spend it as he or she thinks it should.
Of course all this in case that all the child’s needs are met. In case all the needs are not met, then the parent who pays for the support has the right to complain. If you notice that your child does not have the basics but you have to buy it for him when he spends time with you, contact your lawyer who led the divorce process. There is maybe enough to file a motion.
5. Unemployment relieves you of the obligation to pay
Many irresponsible parents come up with the idea of avoiding paying this obligation by deliberately depriving themselves of earnings, at least the official ones. Since the courts have experience with such attempts to evade the law, if someone is found to be “intentionally under employed or unemployed” then the obligation to pay child support does not cease. Even if unemployment is real and not a way to avoid this, the court can certainly ask parents to borrow money or accept any job to pay alimony.
6. It is tax deductible
While it may seem logical to you that this is tax deductible, under the laws of the Internal Revenue Service it is not. It works so that the parent who pays support cannot omit it from their incomes, and the parent who receives the money does not have to include it in their incomes. There are certain things regarding the impact of children on taxes, but this is not one of them.
We hope we have solved many dilemmas for you and that we have debunked the myths that have confused you.