Unlike issues such as child custody, in which a family court judge has wide discretion when making a final decision, child support payments are largely determined by a formula established by the state.
But that doesn’t mean that child support payments don’t cause conflict in a divorce, because there are many instances in which the person paying the support feels that the amount is too high. That’s why every state has given a set of rights to parents who pay child support.
What Are the Rights of Parents Who Are Paying Child Support?
Although the wording may be different, there are a common set of rights each state grants to parents who are paying child support, including:
- Petitioning To Modify Custody Arrangement – parents paying child support can file a petition with the court to modify (change) custody if they believe that it is in the best interest of the child. In many instances, this modification is requested if one parent believes his or her child is being mistreated or abused by the other parent.
- Petitioning To Modify Child Support Payment – a parent can also file a petition with the court to alter the existing child support payment. This often happens when the parent has suffered a job loss or job demotion that results in a significant change in circumstances, which is the standard a family court judge would use to determine if a modification is necessary.
- The Right To Timesharing/Visitation Even If You Are In Arrears – parents paying child support also have the right to continue visiting their children, even if they are behind in child support payments. That doesn’t mean that the other parent can’t take the parent with visitation rights to court to get the back payments, but it does mean that the visitation can’t be denied based solely on payment status.
- The Right To Question How Your Support Payment Is Being Used – every state stipulates that child support payments be used for the welfare and betterment of a child. However, situations may arise in which a parent uses the child support for something that does not benefit the child, such as vacations, buying jewelry or buying expensive cars. In those instances, the parent paying child support can file a petition with the court to investigate the way the other parent is using the support.
Why You Need a Lawyer
There are many issues that can arise involving child support payments, especially if the parent making these payments wants to modify the existing arrangement. Although some parents may be able to work out these issues amicably, many of these cases create conflict and hostility that has the potential to make the situation worse.
When you are faced with a child support issue, your first call should be to an experienced family law attorney that has the resources, expertise and track record to help you achieve your goals. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has spent nearly 30 years handling family law claims. Call us today at 561-655-8844 to learn how we can help you.