3 Child Support Myths: Debunked

If you're a non-custodial parent and paying child support, you want to be sure to know all that you can about your rights and obligations. While there are an abundance of myths surrounding child support out there, it's important to concern yourself only with the facts. Below are three such myths about child support and the facts behind them.

Myth #1: If Your Ex is Not Allowing Me to See Your Child, You Don't Have to Pay Support

Fact: Visitation and child support are not linked – this means that a parent cannot be withheld from their children just because they haven't been paying their court ordered child support.

If you and your ex have a court order that outlines your visitation rights, your ex can be held in contempt of court for not following the order. If this is the case, it's important that you contact your attorney for your next steps. If there's no custody order, however, it's important that you apply for one as soon as possible, otherwise it can be seen by the courts as abandonment of your child. In the same vein, however, if you're not paying child support and it's required by the courts, you can be held in contempt and may face fines and jail time.

Myth #2: If You Choose Not to Exercise Your Rights to Visitation, You Don't Have to Pay Support

Fact: If child support payments are court ordered, you cannot ignore those orders, even if you choose to have no physical part in your child's life.

In the majority of cases, a parent cannot just give up their parental rights. While it's certainly within your rights to try, your request won't be granted unless the courts believe that there is good cause. Good cause varies, depending on location and presiding judge, but it's likely that unless someone else will be stepping in to adopt your child, such as a stepparent, parental rights cannot be given up. This means you're still responsible for paying child support.

Myth #3: If You Lose Your Job, Your Child Support Payments Will Be Lowered

Fact: While you can always file a request for modification of child support, it's important to remember that the courts consider more than just your income when calculating your child support payments.

When considering your request, the courts will likely want to know why you lost your job, whether your job loss is temporary or permanent, and what your earning potential is. For example, if you quit a $50,000 job because you decided to start your own business, but you only bring in $25,000 per year, the courts will likely calculate your child support payments based at an income of $50,000. Why? Because it's obvious that you have the potential to earn that much, even if you currently aren't. To learn more about increasing the odds of getting your modification request approved, consult with your family law attorney.

To learn more about the facts behind child support, consult with your family lawyer. The years of experience and the knowledge that they have to offer will be your best bet when it comes to understanding your rights and obligations.