When you get divorced and have children, it’s common for the non-custodial parent to provide child support. Child support is designed to provide the custodial parent with the money needed to ensure that their children are adequately provided for. That money is meant for your kids and your kids alone, but once you’re ordered to pay it, it’s normal to start asking questions. Here are a few of the most common myths about child support that your Columbia divorce lawyer wants you to be aware of.
1. Child Support Orders Cannot Be Changed
It’s easy to believe that once the court determines your child support orders, those orders are set in stone. But nothing could be further from the truth. The court understands that circumstances can change and they’re willing to review the child support orders as needed. Keep in mind that you’ll want to speak with your divorce lawyer if you need to petition the court for a review of current child support orders. They’ll be able to present your case and help you better illustrate why the court should modify the orders.
2. You Only Have to Pay Until Your Child Turns 18
The very name “child support” implies that the money is only needed while your child is under 18 years of age. While this may be true for many families, it’s possible that you’ll need to pay child support longer. If your child requires ongoing care, has an illness or disease that requires costly medical treatment, or your child has a disability, you may need to pay child support even after they turn 18. Every situation is unique and the court will take your child’s health and well-being into consideration when deciding how long you’ll need to make payments.
3. You Don’t Have to Pay if You Don’t Have Visitation Rights
Some parents believe that they don’t have to pay child support if they don’t have visitation rights. This simply isn’t true. Just because you’re unable to visit your children doesn’t mean you’re not still responsible for providing for them. The court can order you to pay child support even if you’re not given visitation.
4. Stepparents Don’t Have to Pay Child Support
Believe it or not, stepparents may have to pay child support for children that they’re not related to. It depends on your relationship to the child and whether you accepted responsibility for raising them. If you acted as their parent and performed parental duties while married to your former spouse, the court may order you to pay child support. If you adopt your stepchild, you will likely also have to pay child support.
5. Child Support Payments Are Based on the Child’s Needs
Child support payments go toward the child’s care which makes it seem like the amount you’ll pay will depend on your child’s needs. However, this is not the case. Instead, child support is based on your income and how much you can comfortably afford to pay without leading to an undue hardship on your finances.
Your Columbia Divorce Lawyer Can Help
If you’re worried about possible child support payments after your divorce or need help convincing the court to reevaluate how much you pay, contact Columbia Family Law Group today. Our team will help you understand your options and help you ensure that any child support payments you need to make are fair.