Child Support Payments: Understanding the Process For Beginners

If you’re about to start child support payments, but are unfamiliar with the process and the system— we’re here to help. Following, you will find a short, easy guide to navigating the in’s and outs of child support. From how they courts calculate them, to what they cover, and so on. No one is ever prepared to start splitting time with their child. And aside from that, support payments can often add insult to injury if you’re feeling left in the dark. So, let’s skip all that— and help you understand the meaning behind it all.

Child Support Payments: Understanding the Process For Beginners
What does child support cover?

Child support payments are typically based around four categories. Those categories are shelter, clothing, food, and health care. In short, a basic agreement meets the basic needs of the child. Other items such as extracurriculars, entertainment, and electronics, are not a ‘need’ according to child support. Therefore, they are not part of the agreement. Keep in mind that every agreement has the potential to be different. If there is something specific you feel the need to include— discuss it with your lawyer and go from there.

How do they go about calculating the payments?

As we continue to mention, child support payments are designed to meet the basic needs of the child, while also taking into consideration the income of each parent. Keep in mind that these things, the needs and the income, are both things that can change over time. So, after a certain period of time, you both can draft a new agreement that adapts to the needs of the child.

When do the payments get recalculated?

The standard period of time, barring any substantial change beforehand— is four years. You can assume that after four years, there will be some change to either of the two main factors. Those two main factors being child’s need, and parents income. If there is a sudden loss of job, medical emergency, or so forth— a custody agreement is eligible for renegotiating early.

Who pays what?

Typically, there will be one parent with physical custody. Physical custody means that the child is living in that parents house. Therefore, they are providing the day to day setting within which they live their lives. This means that ultimately, under the eyes of the law, they carry the heaviest load. So, that parent will be the one receiving support payments from the other parent.