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Divorce tends to be more complicated when there is a child or children involved. There is more to settle regarding child custody and support. Child support is usually necessary to ensure the needs of the child or children are well taken care of. If you are a parent paying child support to your ex-spouse, below are four key mistakes you should avoid.
Paying Without a Written Agreement
The first mistake you should avoid is paying child support without a written agreement. When everything is not in writing, it is easy for the other party to make false claims. This is a risk you should not take. Thus, before you start paying, talk to your divorce lawyer and find out how you should go about the process to avoid issues in the long run.
Not Following the Set Process for Making Payment
Any payment you make using another channel other than what is laid down in your agreement will not count. Therefore, follow the agreed method otherwise you will end up paying twice. Also, note that the treats you give to your child and the money you give them directly does not count as child support.
Not Reporting Changes in Income
When your income changes, you should report this to the relevant authorities and see if you can get an adjustment on the amount of money you pay each month for child support. However, do this only for sincere changes that are out of your control. Don’t start being lazy so you can pay less. Remember this is your child and it is your responsibility to ensure their basic needs are well catered for.
Failing to Pay
When you fail to make payments as per the agreement, you will only be accumulating debt for yourself. Also, you may have to cover all the legal expenses if your spouse decides to take you to court for failing to make payment.
If you aren’t sure where to get started with child support, talk to an attorney in your state who has a clear understanding of child support law. They will help in determining your responsibilities and calculating how much you should be paying to your ex-spouse. The amount you should pay depends on your salary and the expenses. You and your ex-spouse can determine the amount you will be paying. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement, you will need a hearing where the judge will make the decision.
You can also consult a lawyer on matters of support modifications when your financial standing changes. Usually, child support should go on until the child reaches the age of maturity. The specific age will vary depending on where you live. For some states, child support is up to 18 years, whereas in others the support may extend for longer. The support can extend when the child is physically challenged or in cases where the child has attained the age of maturity but is still in high school. In most states, you are not obliged to pay for college but it would be a good thing for both parents to support the child as much as they can.