What does paying child support mean for you?

| Oct 2, 2019 | Firm News

Getting a divorce may have been one of the most difficult events in your life. Though you may have agreed that ending the marriage was the best option due to the unhappiness of the relationship, the fact that you would have to spend less time with your kids was likely gut-wrenching.

You may have thought that a joint custody arrangement would be the outcome, and you likely felt shocked when the court awarded the other parent sole physical custody. Now, you must adhere to a visitation schedule, and in addition to the custody order, the court likely handed down a child support order as well.

Paying child support

As the noncustodial parent, you will likely pay the other parent monthly support payments. This obligation falls to you because the other parent fulfills his or her responsibilities by having physical custody of the children. Though it may not apply to your circumstances, joint custody arrangements can even require support payments, and the amount of those payments will depend on factors like the percentage of time each parent has physical custody of the kids and the percentage each parent contributes to joint income.

While you may not mind the idea of supporting your children financially, you may still have questions regarding how long the support payments will last. Often, the following examples apply:

  • The noncustodial parent makes support payments until the child reaches the legal age of adulthood.
  • If a minor child becomes self-supporting and the court declares him or her emancipated from the parents, the noncustodial parent no longer pays support.
  • When a child becomes an active-duty military member, child support is no longer necessary.
  • If a child is adopted by a stepparent or the noncustodial parent’s parental rights are otherwise terminated, he or she no longer has the obligation to make support payments.

It is important to remember that your support order is legally binding, and you cannot make changes to the order without court approval.

Making changes

If a time comes when you feel that the support order no longer suits the circumstances of your family, you may want to consider seeking a child support modification. As mentioned, the court will have to approve any changes, and before giving approval, the court will have to see that your circumstances have changed significantly enough to warrant the modification.

If you have questions about child support in general or seeking a change to your order, you may want to consult with a Georgia family law attorney.