Things To Remember In Child Support Negotiations
Child support can be a very contentious issue in some divorces. Parents may not agree on the amounts owed or the custody arrangement and the noncustodial parent may struggle to pay the support. This can trigger rash actions and create many problems. However, the entire process can go smoothly if both parents keep a few key things in mind.
If possible, it may be wise to begin with mediation. Most states have default guidelines that may apply, but generally, the parents do not have to abide by them if they can both agree on a different payment schedule. This may work well if the noncustodial parent makes less money or otherwise would have difficulty paying. However, this needs to be done with the assistance of a lawyer, as child support law does not recognize casual agreements. If there is no formal agreement, the noncustodial parent may be on the hook for back child support payments.
Another common problem arises when the noncustodial parent disagrees with something about the child support arrangement and stops paying. Many times this happens because they do not agree with the way the custodial parent is spending the money, or because they feel the arrangement is unfair. Sometimes the custodial parent may have a good job while the noncustodial parent is unemployed, and it seems unfair that child support payments have to continue. However, if you owe child support, it is important that you always make your payments on time and in full. Child support law does not make allowances for financial distress, and you can have your driver’s license suspended or even be imprisoned for failure to pay.
Finally, remember to involve your children in any disputes. Studies have shown that divorce itself is not harmful to children, but it can quickly become a problem if the parents use them as pawns. If you are the custodial parent and you are not receiving child support, do not deny visitation. Rather, seek legal help to resolve the situation. Similarly, if you are the noncustodial parent and feel the situation is unfair, try to get the arrangement amended. Child support law is designed to give the children financial support from both parents, but it is up to you to give them love and emotional support.
Divorce is a difficult situation for any family, but it can go smoothly if both parties work together. By keeping these simple guidelines in mind, your child support negotiations will have a good chance of going smoothly.