Deciding to divorce can be one of the most heartbreaking decisions a couple has to make. Reasons may vary which have ultimately led to this life-changing decision. Some individuals may be more than happy to move away from their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. In such cases, you may need to hire one of the best divorce lawyers in your area.
A childless divorce can be easier and less complicated. On the other hand, divorcing couples with children on tow may take some time to be finalized. There are many things that need to be considered including child support. In such cases, it is recommended to hire child support lawyers to help you with the divorce process.
What is child support and how it works?
Child support refers to any kind of support given to a couple’s biological child or children. It applies to both married and unmarried couples. Primarily, child support involves monetary support that will be given for the child’s welfare. It will depend on the agreement between the couple with sound advice from hired top rated divorce lawyers.
Child support guidelines differ from state to state. However, there are common factors they rely on to determine child support as well as spousal support. Among these factors include the following:
- The child(ren)’s age and specific needs such as education, healthcare, and others
- Each parent’s average income
- Amount of time the child(ren) spent with each parent
- The family’s lifestyle prior to the divorce
- Other factors that can affect one of the parent’s ability to pay for child support
A couple’s child support conditions can be indicated in a pre-nuptial or separation agreement. Family lawyers can also help divorcing couple come up with the terms of child support that both parties can agree upon. But if both couples cannot agree on the terms, the judge will be the one to decide on the terms of child support. It will be deemed final unless one of the couple objects, which means additional money and time spent.
When will child support last?
Child support involves providing financial support for the child in all aspects of his/her life. This includes giving money for the child’s education, healthcare, and other basic needs. However, child support can only be applicable until one of the following applies:
- The child reaches beyond minor age of 18 (except when he or she is a “special needs” child)
- The child was already legally adopted and parental rights dissolved
- The child enters military service
- The child, who is still considered a minor, is considered by the court as an adult due to his/her ability to support himself financially
Both of the parents are responsible for providing financial support to the child. This is regards whether there is joint custody or one of the parents is declared the child’s primary custodian. Family lawyers will help couples with this kind of situation and make sure the couple provides the support the child needs.
Marital status won’t make an impact on child support as long as both parents have acknowledged that the child is claimed as your own. Meanwhile, step-parents are not obliged to provide for child support unless he or she legally adopts the child, dissolving the biological parents’ parental rights.
Other FAQ’s about child support
The best divorce lawyers can help you with the run-throughs of the entire divorce process. Other than that, here are some FAQ’s that can help answer your questions about child support:
What if I am not sure whether I am the father of the child and the mother files for child support?
In such cases, the judge will order a paternity test as long as there is a request on your part. The judge will also decide who will pay for the test – which will either be paid by you, the mother, or the court.
How will I know if the child support amount is fair enough?
It will depend on several factors as previously mentioned. This includes the time the child spent with each parent, each parent’s income, and the child’s age, among a few. If one of the parents has no idea about the spouse’s income, the judge can request the other parent to provide proof of income such as pay stubs or tax returns to the court.
Can I change the child support amount?
Yes, you can. Simply file a Motion to Modify Child Support Order in case of a change in your financial situation.
What else do I need to know about child support?
For your concerns about child support during your divorce settlement, you can consult the best child support lawyers in Alexandria VA today.