If you and your ex share children, one of the most difficult aspects of a separation and divorce is the process of figuring out the best way to handle custody and parental responsibilities. Financial contributions are one of the most important parental responsibilities in any family. After all, children require housing, health care and school supplies in addition to toys and other items that make life enjoyable.
While you may not want to send a portion of your income to your ex every week, you should try to focus on the fact that your kids will benefit from that money. Paying child support is not only a legal obligation, but also one of the best ways to demonstrate to the courts your devotion to your kids.
Temporary custody and support orders often change
During the initial stages of a divorce, it is common for the courts to allocate custody at least temporarily to one parent. As a result, the other parent may end up paying child support until the courts determine how to better allocate parenting time. Just because you are currently relegated to weekend visits does not mean that you cannot successfully obtain shared custody with your ex.
While you may want to share custody and pay less child support, you have to wait for the courts to rule on the issue. If you do not pay child support while your divorce makes its way through the courts, that could hurt your case for custody. The courts will wonder how devoted you are to the best needs of your children if you cannot even make payments as ordered by the courts
You have the right to request modifications when support levels are unreasonable
The state of California uses a relatively simple calculator to determine the appropriate amount of child support in any given situation. The formula looks at the amount of time the children spend with each parent, the income of each parent and any special expenses related to medical or educational needs.
All of this information comes either from you or your ex. It is possible for the courts to have inaccurate or outdated information. When your financial situation changes, whether it’s due to a new job or other factors, you may ask the courts to review and modify child support. If you successfully seek shared custody with your ex, that can also impact the amount of child support you have to pay.
You may have to wait several weeks or longer for a modification hearing. In the meantime, you should do your best to pay the amount of support as ordered in full and on time. Doing so will demonstrate your willingness to provide for the children and also protect you from any potential enforcement actions that the state might take to seek unpaid child support.