Things You Should Know About Child Support

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Things You Should Know About Child Support

2 May 2023
 Categories: , Blog

Child support is necessary but controversial. Some of the controversy comes from the misunderstandings parents have about the payments. Below are some things you should know about child support. 

It Requires Direct Monetary Payment

The noncustodial parent should pay money, not goods or services, as child support. The paying spouse can use cash, check, bank transfer, or any method that allows the recipient to spend the money on anything they wish. For example, the noncustodial parent cannot repair the custodial parent's roof and claim the repair services as child support.

In addition, the noncustodial parent cannot spend the money on the child and claim it as child support. For example, the parent cannot take the child on vacation or buy them clothes and claim the expenditures as child support. Rather, the noncustodial parent must give the money to the custodial parent to spend on the child.

The Paying Spouse Cannot Dictate the Use

Even though child support is for the child's benefit, the paying spouse cannot dictate how the receiving spouse should use the money. The assumption is that the custodial parent is fit to care for the child, which is why they have custody in the first place. As a fit parent, the custodial parent uses their best judgment to decide how to spend child support money.

Change Must Come From the Court

You only modify child support with permission from the court. If you agree to modify child support but don't notify the court, the agreement is not binding. If the other parent reneges on the deal, you cannot enforce the modification. Even if you agree on a modification, you should get the court to ratify it before starting payments under the new deal.

Periodic Review Is Advisable

Children's needs change as they grow. For example, they may start going to school, commence extracurricular activities, and require medical consultations they didn't require before. The cost of living also changes over time. Considering all these issues, regular child support evaluation is advisable. That way, you can adjust the payments to match the child's current needs.

The Payments Are Sometimes Tax Deductible

Lastly, child support used to be tax deductible, but that is no longer true. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), child support money is neither taxable nor deductible if they stem from agreements executed by 2018 or earlier. However, you cannot claim payment deductions based on agreements executed after 2018. In addition, the receiving parent does not have to pay taxes on the payments. Consult your child support lawyer to clarify your situation, especially if you have modified your child support agreement over the years.

Contact a local divorce and legal separation lawyer to learn more about child support.