Child support disputes can bring out the worst in many parents, conjuring images of greedy ex-spouses, and children who are used as pawns in games of parental posturing and revenge. While there may be a certain degree of truth to some of these stereotypes, a variety of myths regarding child support exist.
Myth: Child support payments are based solely on the needs of the children.
Fact: California has a complex child support formula that is based on many factors. The formula does not attempt to quantify the specific needs of each child; instead it is heavily dependent upon the income of each parent and the amount of time that each parent spends with the children.
Myth: Child support payments must be spent on the child
Fact: Although child support is intended to be used for the food, clothing, shelter, and other needs of the children, California does not require a parent to prove how he or she spent the funds.
Myth: I can move out of state to dodge my child support obligations.
Fact: Each state has its own child support enforcement agency and these agencies all work together. You cannot escape this obligation.
Myth: I can quit my job in order to avoid making child support payments.
Fact: The courts are permitted to “impute” income to a parent who intentionally quits a job, whether or not that parent is currently earning a paycheck. Obligations will continue to accrue and payments must be made.
Myth: I lost my job and can no longer afford to make child support payments, so I will be sent to jail.
Fact: If you lost your job through no fault of your own, then you will not be criminally liable for failing to make your child support payments. However, you must petition the court to modify child support otherwise the obligation continues.
Myth: My ex-spouse uses child support payments for shopping, dining and to support a lavish lifestyle; therefore, my support payment should be reduced.
Fact: So long as the custodial parent pays expenses to feed, clothe and house the minor children, which is the ultimate purpose of child support payments, whatever else she spends money on is generally not scrutinized.
Myth: Child support payments are deductible on my income taxes.
Fact: Child support payments are not deductible to the paying parent; nor are they considered “income” to the receiving parent.
Myth: My ex-spouse claims that she can take my house, bank account, and other assets as part of a child support order.
Fact: The child support order specifies a certain amount of money to be paid each month. Only if you fail to pay the child support ordered by the court can your ex-spouse put a lien on your house, levy your bank account, and take other steps to collect the past due amounts.
If you are receiving child support or contemplating a proceeding which will result in child support, or if you might be obligated to pay child support understand, your rights by contacting the family law attorneys at Schneiders & Associates, L.L.P.