The term “child support” refers to the court-ordered payments one parent must make to the other for the care of their child. Generally, the parent who makes the payments is the noncustodial parent, or the parent who only has partial custody of the child.
Courts use a variety of circumstances to determine how much child support this parent should pay, including each parent’s income and the combined income of each parent, as well as the child’s basic but necessary needs, such as:
- Out-of-pocket health and dental care not covered by insurance.
- Daycare or babysitting expenses.
- Educational costs.
- Extra-curricular activities.
- Any special needs or medical conditions.
Typically, child support lasts only until the child turns 18 years old (or until the child gets married or joins the military, if either happens before the child is a legal adult); however, in certain cases, a parent might petition the court to order child support beyond that time.
When to Make Child Support Modifications
There are several examples of when you might need to make modifications to your child support payments. Some of these examples include, but aren’t limited to:
- Job Loss or Change: If you lose your job or changes jobs, you might qualify for a change in child support payments, too.
- Change in Income: Similar to experiencing job loss or a change in jobs, any change in income, such as taking a lower salary or implementing your income with a seasonal job might warrant a change in child support payments.
- Marriage or Divorce: If you get married or divorced and are affected financially, you might qualify for child support payment modification.
Likewise, a parent might request a child support modification if circumstances with the child changes. Examples of these sorts of changes are similar to the aspects the court looks at when determining your child support costs in the first place, including new expenses related to the child’s:
- Health or Dental Care: If a child experience illness or injuries that require extensive health or dental care costs, then the court might find it necessary to modify child support payments.
- Education and Extra-Curricular Activities: For example, if the child attends a school that requires tuition or joins an after-school sport that requires the parents to pay for uniforms, it might be necessary to modify child support payments.
- Special Needs: A child might develop special needs after the court has already set child support payments in place.
Whenever any change emerges that might result in a modification of child support, document it. Take note of the reason, how much it costs, and how long it’s expected to last. The court will want to see proof and details about the change before considering modifying your child support payments and deciding exactly how to modify them, whether you’re the parent who makes or receives the payment.
Child Support Laws and You
If you need help modifying your current child support situation, act quickly. Serving the Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach areas, the law offices of Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton are here to help you make sure your child receives the most accurate amount of child support possible. Give us a call today at (904) 398-2212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation regarding your child support situation.