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Five most common child support questions, Part 1

Divorce is a complex legal situation. You are mixing family, money, and emotions, which rarely ends well. That being said, divorces are not consigned to end poorly no matter what. You and your ex-spouse mostly control the process. Therefore, you can affect how well or poorly it goes. A lawyer can assist you through the process by addressing the legal angles and walking you through the common issues that divorcing couples need to address. One the most common, and thorny, is child support. This post will go over the basic questions most people raise regarding child support.

Before the questions, it is important to understand child support conceptually. Child support is fundamentally different from spousal support. Child support is largely determined by the court (usually per guidelines or formulas). Conversely, spousal support can be allocated (or abrogated) by the couple, no judicial interference required. Child support is meant as income to care for the children, therefore, it only ends once the child reaches the age of majority (or older if they attend college). Spousal support is only meant to compensate the spouse for their inability to find work because they sacrificed their professional development for their partner, that means, spousal support usually ends after a few years.

A common question people ask is if child support can be paid directly to their child. Generally, meaning nine out of ten times, the payment must go to a parent – children are not adults and therefore are incapable of receiving the payments. But, in rare situations, (for instance, a child who emancipates herself) children can receive the payments directly.

As you can see, divorces get incredibly complicated, especially if children are involved. It is best if you speak to a lawyer, even if you don’t retain one to represent you, but to at least go over any agreements or your paperwork. An attorney can ensure that you avoid missing any important financial or legal issues that jeopardize your divorce or child support arrangement. The last thing you need, while you are trying to move on and build a new life is to get dragged back into court by a misunderstanding over support.

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