Child Support After a Divorce: How Lawyers Can Help
By Henry F. Lewis on November 10, 2017
Child support refers to an amount of money that the court orders a parent or both parents to pay each month in order to help provide for the expenses of raising a child. This covers a wide range of expenses, from education and schooling to food, lodging, supplies, and so forth.
Here at Gardner & Lewis, LLP, we've helped many people in the greater Oakland area with child support disputes. Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side can help keep child support payment fair and reasonable, and allow divorce proceedings to progress with greater objectivity. Let's cover some basics when it comes to child support calculations, payments, and disputes.
What Is the Difference Between Child Support and Alimony?
Many people conflate alimony and child support payments, but they are really two separate things.
Child support, as the name implies, is meant to cover the cost of raising children. Alimony, by contrast, is paid directly to a former spouse as part of a legal agreement during a divorce. Alimony is meant to ensure the same standard of living for a spouse after a divorce has occurred. The person who is paying alimony to their former spouse is usually able to claim their payments as a tax deduction. However, child support payments cannot be claimed as a tax deduction.
These various payments can be confusing, but your family law attorney will be able to offer guidance with regard to both alimony and child support issues.
Calculating Child Support
When determining the amount of child support payments, a number of factors are taken into consideration, including:
- How much money parents are capable of earning
- The amount of income each parents receives
- The number of children that need to be supported
- The amount of time each parent sees their children
- Tax filing status for each parent
- Any additional child support from previous marriages
- Health and medical expenses
- The cost of children's living and health expenses
In some cases, parents will be asked to share in the cost of raising a child, particularly when it comes to matters such as educational needs and travel for visitations. The attorneys will work with both spouses in order to come to a fair and just calculation with regard to child support.
Child Support Disputes
A number of disputes may arise regarding child support payments.
For one, sometimes spouses simply do not pay child support as scheduled. If a spouse falls behind or simply does not pay child support, that individual can face serious consequences, including being placed in contempt of court and facing jail time.
The amount of child support is also often disputed in divorced couples. If financial situations change, the amount paid may have to be adjusted in order to account for certain hardships being faced.
How Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Can Help
Child support issues and ensuing disputes can become quite heated, which is why having a skilled divorce lawyer on your side is crucial. A divorce attorney can help provide a more objective perspective regarding these child support matters, which can ease tensions between all parties involved. Family law attorneys help keep the focus on what's best for the children, which is the primary reason child support exists in the first place.
Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
To learn more about your legal rights following a separation or divorce, be sure to contact our team of experienced child support attorneys today. The team at Gardner & Lewis, LLP will help you seek justice and ensure your legal rights are properly represented.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis