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The Truths Behind Common Child Support Myths

Child support is often one of the most litigious aspects of any divorce, often going on long after the split is final. When determining the amount of child support to be paid, the courts look into issues such as the needs of the child, the ability of the non-custodial parent to support him or herself, and the earnings of both parents. In setting the amount of child support, the court tries its best to maintain the standard of living the children would have had if the parents remained together.

Unfortunately, there are many myths floating around about child support that can cloud your outlook on how child support can affect your family. This article will look to shoot down some of those prevalent myths.

Child support is a simple monthly payment

Unfortunately, child support payments are way more complicated than simple one-off monthly payments, often consisting of a fixed base payment that is meant to cover the child's basic needs, as well as other negotiable incremental payments. In fact, modifications to the amount payable can be made at any time as the needs of the child change.

Court ordered incremental expenses must be negotiated and divided monthly among the parents, and may be comprised of unforeseen expenditures, such as emergency medical costs. During negotiations on such incremental payments or for any modifications on any agreed fixed payments, it is advisable to hire an attorney, like those at Edward J. Achrem & Associates, Ltd., to represent you and look out for you interests.

Child support money can only be spent on the children

Many parents paying child support feel they have the right to know how their child support payments are being used. The fact is that you are owed no explanation by the custodial parent as to how they use the money they receive.

This is because the receiving parent is expected to maintain a household for him/herself and the children, and it is inevitable that some money will be used on expenses such as car gas, rent, utilities and insurance as opposed to going into the direct needs of the children, such as food, toys, clothing and education. 

Filing bankruptcy will relieve you from paying child support

Unfortunately, child support is an obligation that you cannot run away from even if you file for bankruptcy. While the bankruptcy may help by making more money that would otherwise go to creditors available for child support, it will not discharge your child support payments.

If you file bankruptcy, the state will usually focus its collection efforts on current child support payments, but all back payments still owed will still have to be paid once the bankruptcy is discharged.