Child Support Tips for Parents

child custody | American Pregnancy Association

Child support ensures both parents are financially contributing to their child’s upbringing.

The following tips could help you whether you receive or pay child support.

Tips for custodial parents

What to do

  • Stick to a budget. Plan how you will allocate the support payments to meet your child’s needs. If you have funds left, put them into a savings account for future expenses.
  • Request a support modification if your situation changes. You can request a support modification when there’s a significant change in your situation. For example, if you lose income, you could ask the court to increase the child support amount. Check your court’s specific rules about when you can make modification requests.

What not to do

  • Deny the noncustodial parent visits if they miss support payments. Custody and support orders are separate. If the noncustodial parent disobeys the support order, it does not give you permission to disobey the custody order. Also, denying visits gives the noncustodial parent cause to take you to court.
  • Spend support money on personal things for others. You may receive support payments, but they’re meant for your child. While you’re free to spend the money on things that benefit both you and your child (rent, gas, etc.), don’t use it exclusively for yourself or for children who aren’t named in the support order. The other parent could turn to the court or child support agency if they’re worried that payments aren’t reaching their child.

Tips for noncustodial parents

What to do

  • Make support payments on time. Pay on time to ensure your child has what they need. In some states, delinquent payments collect interest, meaning you’ll owe more than usual. If you expect to miss a payment, contact your local child support office before it is due. You might be able to set up a payment plan.
  • Show up for every visit. Being an active part of your child’s life is just as important as providing for them financially. Not exercising your visitation rights will not look good if you return to court. Furthermore, if parenting time is a factor in the support amount you pay, the custodial parent could request an increase.

What not to do

  • Ignore child support requests. Ignoring served child support papers does not mean you’ll avoid child support. If you don’t respond, the family court can issue a judgment without your input and you might end up owing an amount you cannot afford.
  • Refuse to pay support because the other parent won’t let you see the kids. Child support is the right of the child. Not paying only hurts your child as it can endanger their security. You also risk court sanctions as severe as jail time.

Article contributed by Custody X Change.

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