Understanding the myths surrounding child support

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2019 | Family Law

Ending a marriage often isn’t easy. When spouses decide to part ways, they’re usually making a decision that’ll drastically change their life, especially if they’ve built a family together.

During divorce proceedings, child support can be challenging to settle, especially if tensions are high. However, ex-spouses can ease their frustrations if they understand the common myths that surround child support payments.

Looking at the misconceptions

With all the information available, fact and fiction can be hard to decipher. These are some common myths about child support ex-spouses should understand:

  • Child support is irrelevant if parents have joint custody: In most instances, one parent has to pay some form of child support. The amount of child support allocated is often based on each spouse’s level of income and how much they need in their budget to provide for the kids on their own.
  • Child support stops once they turn 18: At one point, this was true in most cases. However, kids in their young adult lives are relying more on their parents nowadays than in previous years. While reasons for their financial dependence often vary, this can still complicate how divorced parents deal with and allocate child support. According to a recent report, 1 in 5 Millennials expect to remain financially dependent on their parents into their 30s.
  • All payments must get directly allocated towards the kids: Child support’s primary function is to help ex-spouses share financial responsibility for their kids. In some cases, that means child support payments can go to things that benefit them indirectly. For example, support money can get used for mortgage payments, health insurance and groceries.
  • Parents who intentionally quit their job can avoid payments: If a parent leaves their job to reduce or avoid making payments, the courts may not look at this move favorably. If this happens, courts most likely won’t make adjustments for the unemployed parent. Judges realize both parents hold a level of responsibility for caring for their child and may find this move inexcusable.

Keeping the child’s best interests in mind

Maneuvering the legal and financial hurdles of divorce can be challenging, especially if ex-spouses are in a heated battle over how to care for their children. But no matter the circumstances, the child’s best interests should always come first. Even if both parents are at odds with one another, most want their children to have a healthy growth and development.