Child support is one of the most controversial issues that divorcing couples or unmarried couples have to discuss. Here are five things to broaden your understanding of the legal side of child support:
It Does Not End Automatically
The first thing to know is that child support termination isn't automatic. In most cases, the paying parent has to submit an application to the court to get the payments stopped. Therefore, don't stop remitting the child support money just because the child has reached their 18th birthday, graduated high school or graduated from college – whatever the case may be.
It May Go Beyond 18 Years
There is a prevailing assumption that child support only lasts until the child's 18th birthday. However, child support can go beyond the child's 18th birthday under certain circumstances. For example, most states require child support to last at least as long as the child is still in high school, and some kids don't finish high school until after the 18th birthday. You may also be required to pay child support beyond a child's 18th birthday if they have special needs, for example, if the child is disabled.
It May Be Terminated Early
Just like child support can be extended beyond a child's 18th birthday, there are situations in which it can be terminated early. The most obvious situation is one where a child becomes emancipated. Minor emancipation is a process in which a minor (child below the age of 18) gains the right to behave or act as an adult. For example, a minor who joins the military or gets married becomes emancipated and is no longer entitled to their parents' financial support, including child support.
It May Be Paid As a Lump Sum
Although regular child support payments are usually paid every month, this is not the only way of making child support payments. Some states allow you to pay lump sum child support. In such a case it, it is the receiving parent's duty to preserve the money and use it for the child's future needs.
Parents' Agreements May Be Overruled By the Judge
Lastly, you should also know that child-support agreements have to be rubber-stamped by a judge – who has the authority to overrule your agreement. This means you will have to go back to the drawing board or seek the court's determination. This is to prevent parents from coming up with agreements that are not in the best interest of their children. For example, you cannot waive away child support even if you don't want anything to do with your former partner. After all, the child support is for the child and not for you.
To learn more, get in touch with a firm like Crome Law Firm.