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Child Support Myths: Busted

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding Florida child support, such as how it is calculated, who has to pay, and what it is to be used for. At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, our child support attorneys educate our clients on what to expect in terms of child support so that they can prepare both mentally and financially. Part of educating our clients includes addressing their current beliefs and misconceptions about the divorce process and everything that comes with it.

7 Common Misconceptions Regarding Child Support

There are dozens of misconceptions regarding child support, but the seven that invariably lead to at least one parent becoming angered are the following:

  1. Child Support Payments Are Not Required When Parents Share Custody. While there are instances in which this is true, it is a very rare occurrence for a judge to forego child support. The goal of child support is to ensure that financial burdens are shared, and so, unless all finances, incomes, and child-rearing responsibilities of both parents are 100 percent equal, child support will be awarded.
  2. Child Support Payments Are Tax Deductible. Child support payments have no effect whatsoever on your taxes, whether you are the payer or the recipient.
  3. Child Support Payments Cease Immediately When the Child Turns 18. While this may have been true in the past, laws have changed so that child support payments are meant to support the child until they graduate high school (which is oftentimes when the child is 18 and some months), or even until the child has graduated college. Some children with disabilities may never become self-supporting, in which case they will require support payments long after their 18th
  4. Back Child Support Cannot Be Collected Once the Child Turns 18. Too many times an obligor will stop making payments and hope that the missed payments will go unnoticed until the child becomes of age, at which point they believe the missed payments will no longer matter. Unfortunately for those individuals, back payments can be collected long after the child turns 18. Not paying does not erase the responsibility; rather, it just prolongs it.
  5. Child Support Payments Are Only to be Spent on the Child. This is one of the most common myths of child support, and one that causes a lot of obligors to return to court with accusations of, “But my ex-spouse is using the money on him/herself!” Child support is meant to help the child live a normal life in both households. A “normal life” entails going out to dinner, taking family vacations, having a roof over their head, food in their belly, and the other luxuries of a comfortable lifestyle. It is the receiving parent’s right to use the child support payments to make such comforts available.
  6. Child Support Payments Will Be Lowered if I Quit My Job. If the obligor quits his or her job in the hopes that their child support payments will be lowered, they are in for a rude awakening. The court is wise to this tactic, and when an underemployed or unemployed parent comes before them hoping to modify the child support order, the judge will recalculate payments based on past income, skill level, and education, and not just current income.
  7. Child Support Modifications Are Easy to Get. Though the courts do allow modifications to child support orders, a modification can be difficult to obtain. You can only petition for a modification every three years, and when you do, you must have substantial evidence to back up your reasoning for modification. Oftentimes, a parent will petition to have his or her payments lowered but instead will wind up with higher payments, so it is important to consult with a child support attorney before petitioning the judge for a reevaluation of the order.

Consult with a Boca Raton Child Support Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, our family law attorneys understand that child support can be a complex and frustrating aspect of your divorce. Whether you are the obligor or the recipient, our lawyers will guide you through the support determination process, and advise you on what to expect from the final child support order. To speak with a knowledgeable member of our team regarding your unique situation, call 561.391.9943 today, or schedule an appointment online.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.30.html

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