Despite the fact that the divorce rate has declined in recent years, they still hover around 40 percent. The result is a great brotherhood of single fathers court ordered payment child support and co-parenting with someone they no longer live with. So what do these men need to know about child support payments? What should they look for in child support attorney?
The good news is that the importance of dads is increasingly recognized, especially in broken marriages. But that doesn’t mean the resentment has ceased to exist. It’s always there, and it often revolves around money. âThe key thing to realize is that every choice you make should be in the best interest of your child, not yours,â says Tom Swett, a Colorado family law attorney with over seventeen years of experience. experience. âIt’s a tough thing to do, but you have to keep your emotions out of your child support agreement. “
Money is one of the most emotional things divorced parents deal with on a daily basis. Dads should keep these seven things in mind when it comes to paying child support.
Get a lawyer
The most important item dads need in a divorce involving children is a lawyer. They will ensure financial interests are protected, access to your children is adequate, and above all that their client is protected. âGoogle didn’t go to law school, nor your boyfriend at the office,â says Swett. âFind an attorney in your state who has experience in divorce and child support matters. “
Always pay on time
It is a non-negotiable according to Swett. âI see so many men who get caught up and struggle mightily to catch up,â he says. The penalties for delay can be severe: checks seized, income statements confiscated, loss of driver’s license and prison terms. But one of the biggest penalties is the animosity this can create between ex-partners. Simple tasks like dropping off the kids or coordinating schedules can quickly be devolved when someone feels offended.
If money is tight, fathers should pay as much as they can on time. Handshake agreements for later payment are discouraged. Instead, fathers should go to court and seek help. If they’ve shown good faith by paying on time, there’s a good chance the court will be lenient, according to Swett.
Keep records of everything
Each month the payment should be noted in the financial records, making the payments verboten cash. Fathers should keep receipts or images of receipts for all expenses, including clothing and doctor visits. The key rule to remember is that if it is an expense for a child, keep track of it. These expenses are likely to matter if a father is ever able to renegotiate child support.
âRemember, just because you spent a certain amount on clothes doesn’t mean the other party has to spend the same amount,â says Swett. “It depends on your parental consent, but if you don’t have any records you will never have legal proof of what you spent.”
The payer is not responsible
Sending money to an ex can be frustrating. All the more so when the co-parents can agree on how the funds are used. This is a common complaint among divorced fathers. But once the check is sent fathers have very little say in where the money goes. It is best to recognize it while remembering that itChild support is defined as an ongoing periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child. This means it could be used to pay rent, buy a plane ticket, or reduce debt. The receiving parent decides what to think it should be spent on.
If a father disagrees with where the money is going, he can document his issues (email, letters, and notes) and discuss them with his lawyer. Never threaten to withhold payment for any reason. It’s illegal and guaranteed to end badly.
Create a framework for dealing with disputes
Regardless of the effort towards an amicable separation, problems will arise. This is where it is crucial to have clear parental consent. âYou’ll save time, money and heartache if you come up with a series of actions to take when something goes wrong,â says Swett. âIt should start with a few easy steps and go through a mediator before it ends in court. “
Swett recommends exchanging unpaid expense invoices each month to reconcile them. Allowing each parent the ability to decline payment for larger expenses (vacations, camps, etc.) before they occur is also huge. The key is to allow each party to raise complaints before resentment builds up.
Always keep the other party informed
Mutual withholding of financial information often causes much bigger problems than they should be. Part of the challenge of co-parenting is creating and maintaining a certain level of trust. It quickly evaporates when a party feels like they’ve been lied to.
âBe proactive. If you get a raise or a bonus, tell the other parent,â says Swett. âThey’ll find out soon enough with your kids.â Plus, keeping finances on- Above the table, fathers alleviate the need to repay child support if secret income or funds come to light in court.
The best advice Swett offers is to set up an annual schedule for exchanging all relevant information – W-2, year-end paycheck captions, stock information, and tax returns. âBe aware that most child support agreements are based on gross pay, not take-home pay,â says Swett.
Keep the kids out of this
The trauma of divorce is already a serious problem for children in broken marriages. Fathers shouldn’t overdo it by dragging them into financial feuds with their ex. “If you let the money take over the whole divorce, it can pollute everything and possibly affect your relationship with your children,” says Swett. “Is it worth saving $ 100 a month or always criticizing Mom about spending money for not seeing your kids or having a broken relationship with them?” “
Fathers need to keep the anxiety of child support out of their child’s life. If a child has to ask how much a father pays, the appropriate answer is that it is between their parents. In addition, it is dangerous for a father to blame an ex-spouse for his inability to pay for fun activities. Better to just do other projects, like a movie night at home. More than having fun, children need maximum stability.