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How to Survive While Paying Child Support

How to Survive While Paying Child Support

Parents involved in divorce, particularly those required by law to pay for child support, would most likely want to do it for the benefit of their children. However, the current child support system that exists in the country is deemed flawed by many.

Though there is a lot of noise heard about irresponsible parents who fail to provide support for their kids following a divorce, it seemed to go unnoticed that many of those parents fail to do so for the simple reason that they cannot afford it.

The latest statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016 showed that America has 13.4 million custodial parents. Custodial parents serve as the child’s primary parents with whom the child shares the home. They are the ones who receive child support and decide how to spend it on the child’s behalf. As of the latest counting in 2013, about $32.9 billion worth of child support is owed with only around 68.5% of it provided to the child.

Children have the right to be supported financially for their needs but the system imposes penalties to parents to the point that they can no longer afford child support. When this happens to you, there are several things you can do to survive while paying child support.

Child support order modification

One means of affording child support is through the re-examination of the order imposed on you. You can do it by calling the Child Support Enforcement agency in the location or the state where the order was issued. File before the office a formal motion for the modification of the amount of child support based on changes in your circumstances.

The circumstances of people change over the years and it would be better to simply adjust the child support payment than completely failing to pay it. Some of the most common reasons that you can state in your motion for the request of a reduced amount of child support are as follows:

  • Unemployment
  • Change in salary
  • Medical expenses
  • Re-marriage of custodial parent
  • Added expenses in your own life, e.g., new marriage, new child
  • Added costs relate to a growing child

A reduced child support in accordance with your own expenses and other circumstances would help you survive while at the same time provide for your child.

Negotiate with custodial parent

Another means of surviving payment of child support is by discussing your situation with the ex-wife/ex-husband, who is the custodial parent. Simply be honest about your situation and agree on an amount that you can afford. You need to say it nicely and persuasively. Simply explain that you are more than willing to support your child but since you cannot afford it, it is best to just agree on a reduced amount that not being able to pay for it at all.

Tax relief

Payments for child support are included under taxable income. Therefore, when filing for taxes, you should exclude it in your gross income to allow for smaller tax payments. This will somehow lessen your expenses.

Be on the lookout

Child support orders are “income driven.” This means that determination of the amount is based on income of parents. If the custodial parent remarries, the salary of the new spouse will be shared. Therefore, the capacity of the custodial parent to afford the child’s needs increases. This could be a circumstance that you can use to request for the modification of the child support order.

Shared parenting

In many states, the payment amount is based not only on income but also on the time shared with the child. This means that more the non-custodial parent visits or sees the child, the less the amount the court is likely to require. This is why many parents opt for shared parenting.

Seek legal help

When you still feel helpless, unsure of what to do or simply cannot afford payments at all, it could give you much relief to simply seek legal help from an attorney who is an expert in the field. He would know what steps need to be taken to modify the amount of payment and give the best advice on what to do.

If all else fails, you can always get a second job to help you survive the rigors of paying child support.


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