5 Things You Need to Know About Child Support

When you separate from your partner, you might have questions about child support. Here's what you need to know.

When you and your partner separate from one another, you may find that the divorce process is complicated. You'll need to separate your assets and your finances. One or both of you may move to new places. Learning how to communicate with one another after your relationship ends may be challenging. One of the most difficult parts of separation is understanding how child support will play a role in your new lives. Whether you're the person who will pay child support or you're the one who will receive it, there are a few things you should know.

1. Child support amounts will vary.

The amount of money you pay in child support will vary greatly based on how many children you and your partner have, how much you make, and what your current standards of living are. Child support payments are designed to help cover the costs of your child's personal expenses and basic needs, such as food, rent, school costs, and entertainment.

2. Child support does not count as income.

Child support payments do not count as income; however, they are also not tax-deductible. Understand that the way you file taxes will change after your separation and divorce. Either parent may be able to claim the child as a dependent; however, both parents cannot claim the child in the same year. Talk with your partner to determine who will claim the child on their taxes each year.

3. Child support payments are not impacted by bankruptcy.

If you are struggling financially and cannot afford to make child support payments, keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy will not eliminate the fact that you owe this money. If you find that it is a financial hardship to make your child support payments, you'll need to request a modification to the amount you owe each month. Your attorney can help you request this from a judge.

4. Not every family deals with child support payments.

If you and your partner share physical custody of your child, it's possible that neither one of you will pay child support. Whether or not you pay child support will be determined at the time of your divorce.

5. Communication is essential.

It's likely that you have preferences regarding whether you give or receive child support, as well as how much you may give or receive. Talk with your attorney and your partner about your options for child support. Open communication can help ensure that each person receives exactly what they need during the divorce process, so make sure you take time to both share your opinions and listen to what your partner has to say.

If you have questions about child support payments or the amount owed, it's time to meet with your attorney. Your lawyer will talk with you about your options and help you to understand what your choices are moving forward.