The bills are numerous, the money is tight. Month by month you watch things add up and wonder where all the money goes. So many obligations, and so many “extras” that are hard to account for, when will it ever end? Some think when their children are grown it will get easier and less expensive. If only you didn’t have to pay that child support every month. That is a big chunk of cash for some people. SupportPay can help with this.
There are a number of reasons that you might be able to stop paying child support. They include:
When a child turns 18, or reaches the age of majority (which varies by state)
If a child becomes emancipated (either by marriage, joining the military, or by choice)
You lose a job or income changes dramatically
The time with you changes dramatically
Injury or medical condition
Change in marital status or you have additional children
When They Turn 18 or Become Emancipated
If a child turns 18 or becomes emancipated, you cannot just assume that you are done and stop paying. You must go through the proper steps to ensure that you have fulfilled all of the responsibilities for your state, and that the court gives you permission to be done paying. Recently, many states have updated their child support laws to include an obligation of parents to pay college tuition and fees. You do not want to end up owing back payments for child support just because you assumed you were done because you will not only owe the child support payment but also the compounding interest on the amount owed. Go to your county child support services, meet with your lawyer or file with the court to be sure you are taking the proper steps.
You Lose Your Job or Your Income Decreases
When your life situation changes dramatically in such a way that you must make a change in your payments, then you would have to file for a “modification” to your court order. The first thing you should do is start tracking your personal expenses and your new income. This should be done immediately so that you have documented and certified records to show the courts that you are unable to afford the current order. You can use SupportPay to track these personal expenses and not share them with the other parent. By having these records, you have certified proof of your financial situation.
Once you have your information in order you should immediately file for a child support modification, providing the documented proof of your financial situation. It is critical that you do not stop making your payments during this time, as you will be liable for that amount plus interest.
If you can work something out amicably with your ex, that is best of course. If you are able to come to an amicable agreement make sure to document the agreement and have it signed by both parties and saved into a 3rd party system so that there is a record of the agreement between both of you. The last thing you want is to be responsible for payments that you agreed would not need to be made.
The Amount of Time with Your Child Changes
Since base child support is calculated by taking into account the amount of time you spend with your child(ren) if this time increases or decreases you can use this information to file for a child support modification, asking for an adjustment in your base support amount.
Your Martial Status Changes or You Have More Children
If you remarry or have more children you may be eligible to have a modification to your child support order. While adding members to your household does increase your expenses your total household income may also increase because of additional income coming into the home. The best thing to do is use your state child support calculator with the new information to see if it would impact your order. If the amount is dramatically different than you should file for a child support modification, asking the court to take into consideration your new responsibilities.
Whatever your situation may be when it comes to changing or stopping your child support payments, the first thing you need to do is ensure you are keeping detailed and certified records. Without the records documenting the change in your financial situation the chance of a change decreases dramatically.