One of the best ways to protect yourself if you have a child outside of a marriage, is to obtain a court order. If you reach an agreement (with the parent who is to pay child support) to waive support, child support can still accumulate and become due, even years down the road. Unpaid child support arrearages can amount to large sum of monies plus interest. For these reasons, it is important to have an Order in place which details an agreement that will be upheld and which is enforceable by the Court.
Child support is based on the following information for each parent:
- Gross wages or income from any source. This is income before taxes;
- The number of the parties’ minor children;
- The cost of health insurance for the child/children;
- The cost of work-related child care;
- Additional expenses. These may include costs such as extraordinary medical, dental and counseling expenses incurred on behalf of the child or children of the parties, any extraordinary educational expenses for the child(ren) of the parties andtransportation costs necessary for long distance visitation or time sharing; and,
- How many days the child or children are with each parent (24 hours periods).
When all of this information is entered into the Child Support Worksheet, the calculation will be based upon a Worksheet A or a Worksheet B. A worksheet A is where a one parent has primary physical custody of the child/children and therefore allocates more child support for the primary caregiver, whereas a worksheet B reflects a more shared timesharing arrangement. Where there is shared timesharing, it is presumed that the parties will both be sharing expenses as well, and therefore, less child support is transferred from one party to the other.
As time goes on, it may be necessary to modify child support for many reasons. Maybe one parent got a new job or lost a job, maybe the timesharing arrangement has changed. In any case, in order for the Court to grant a modification, the party seeking the modification must be able to prove that there is a “substantial change of circumstances” and the requested child support modification must indicate a 20% (increase or decrease) than what was previously ordered.
To learn more about child support and to address your concerns, please contact PJ Hartman today at (505) 247-3335.