When there are children in the marriage being dissolved, child support must be paid. Child support cannot be waived, or agreed to be unpaid by the parents. Child support is awarded to benefit the children not the parents.
The State holds that both parents have a duty to support their children. Both parents must file a financial affidavit which sets out their income from all sources, and debt, including expenses. The parents may come to an agreement as to their child support obligation, using the statutory Child Support Guidelines calculation. This mathematical formula, using the information from the financial affidavits will determine the amount of support that each party should pay.
ENFORCEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT
There may come a time that one or the other parent fails to make their child support payments, or make them in a timely manner. If this occurs, you may seek enforcement through the court. If the court finds that your former spouse or the other parent's non-payment of alimony and/or child support is;
- Willful, and that,
- he or she has the ability to pay,
then the court will order him or her to abide by the alimony and/or child support term of your Final Judgment or Marital Settlement Agreement. Such an enforcement action may also result in a contempt order being entered against the non-paying party.
MODIFICATIONS OF CHILD SUPPORT
Things change. The amount of child support (and alimony) that was ordered was based upon the financial affidavit that was filed at the time of the divorce action. There may come a time when the financial information contained in the financial affidavit that was filed during the divorce action changes. If the change is substantial you may wish to seek and upward or downward modification of child support and / or alimony.
The court may modify an amount of child support when;
- in the best interest of the child,
- when the child reaches majority,
- when there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties since entry of the Final Judgment,
- when the court requires support beyond the age of 18 years due to dependency,
- or when a child is emancipated, marries, joins the armed services, or dies.
It’s important to note that one requirement for modification of a parent's child-support obligation is a showing of substantial change in circumstances, that was not contemplated at the time of final judgment of dissolution. This substantial change in circumstance must be proven to be;
- involuntary, and
- permanent in nature.
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