law offices serving both
the Brainerd Lakes
& Little Falls Area
Child Support Tips for Both Sides
What is Child Support and Why Does it Exist?
Raising children is challenging. That’s why, in general, the responsibility for such a task is distributed to at least two people—the two people who had a role in the creation of that child. Don’t worry, we’re not going to get into the birds and the bees here, it’s simply important to note that, in the United States, the legal system generally assumes that the birth mother and father share responsibility for raising any child. While the definition of that responsibility may be a bit fluid (especially in situations that involve divorce, etc), what courts generally agree on is that the financial responsibility should be split somewhat evenly. And that’s why courts write child support orders.
Following a child support order is incredibly important, but it’s not always easy. Likewise, obtaining a child support order is something that can present certain challenges. Because it’s such an important obligation, we’re offering some child support tips for both sides of the parenting equation. Whether a mother, father, or guardian, following these tips can help make your child support situation go a little more smoothly—or at least head off trouble before it starts.
Quick Tips if Your Paying Child Support
If you’re responsible for paying child support, it’s important to take this obligation seriously. Many states, including Minnesota, have very strict laws and regulations when it comes to child support. These laws and regulations are designed to give those responsible for paying child support a healthy incentive to continue payments. Those incentives are important to keep in mind, and they start off our tips:
- Always Pay Your Child Support: In many counties in Minnesota, child support is withdrawn directly from a paycheck or a bank account. It’s important to always make sure those payments are made on time, even if there is a hardship that month. Delinquency can result in many punishments, including the suspension of one’s license—making it even harder to make payments.
- If You Are Having Trouble, Ask for a Change in Payments: Though it’s not always the easiest process, there are avenues for those who are having trouble making payments. If you are having trouble making your payments, you can ask for your monthly obligations to be lowered. It helps if you ask the other party to approve this lower payment as well (and often, all parties will agree—some payment is better than no payment, after all).
- Always Work Within the System: Sometimes, you might come to an agreement with your co-parent to pay more or pay less than your obligation. However, it’s important that any such agreements be communicated to your child support officer so that the appropriate paperwork can be filled out.
Quick Tips if You Are Receiving Child Support
If you are in the position of receiving child support, it’s useful to know what that child support is supposed to cover. In most cases, child support is designed to cover a portion of the day to day expenses of your child while your child is with you. That is why, in nearly all cases, the parent who has the majority of custody time will receive the child support payments. If you are looking to receive child support payments, the following tips pay help:
- File a Motion as Soon as Possible: If the other parent of the child has not been served, it’s important to get this process started as quickly as possible, as it will likely have some bearing on how much back child support is owed by the other parent. Filing a motion as soon as possible will get the process started—and as anyone with any legal experience will tell you, sometimes these processes can take some time.
- You Child Support Includes Both Incomes: In most Minnesota counties, the incomes of both parents are included in calculating the child support obligation. Even so, some types of income are not counted, so it’s important to know how your income and your co-parent’s income matches up. This can also impact obligations such as health and dental insurance, should that be part of the agreement.
- Report and Pursue any Issues as Quickly as Possible: We all lead incredibly busy lives, but it’s important to report and pursue any child support lapses or issues as quickly as possible. The larger the debt owed, the more difficult it may become to collect. Remember that child support laws reflect the location where the child lives—not the location of where the co-parent or child support payer lives. This can be helpful when reporting lapses or issues.
Above All, Most Parents Remember the Welfare of the Child
Parents who are tied together through a child or through the support of a child come in many variations. However, one thing that we’ve noticed is that in most cases, both parties are driven to provide what is best for the child in question. It’s important to keep in mind that most courtrooms will also exhibit the same priorities. When it comes to child support obligations and enforcement, just about everyone is primarily concerned with what is best for the child.
But that doesn’t mean the process won’t be complicated. Mallie Law Office, in Brainerd, MN, has been through the process with a great deal of clients, and we bring both experience and expertise to the table. In other words, we can help you navigate your child support process. If you need help through the child support process, and our child support tips don’t quite provide enough help, contact Mallie Law Office today!