Who Pays Who for Child Support in Joint Custody
No matter where you live in the US, child support payments can become problematic for co-parents. Before a fair and pragmatic custody agreement is reached, both the parties are likely to feel frustrated while trying to understand the legalese used during negotiations.
A few might even feel that their attorneys aren't asserting themselves enough to explain everything. Moreover, they'll soon have to answer to both the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the local Department of Human Services (DHS).
Things can become particularly confusing when co-parents are trying to understand what rules apply to which custody situation, like who pays child support in joint custody. Each state is likely to have its own understanding of custody and how child support plays into it, not to mention income tax implications.
Choosing to use DoNotPay to figure out these types of legal issues will save you many headaches.
How Is Child Support Determined?
While someone can technically "file" a child support petition, the process typically happens organically as a part of divorce proceedings, such as:
- When child support is ordered outside of divorce proceedings when the parents were not married. For example, a child was conceived while the two were dating, but they broke off the relationship before the child's birth. After the child was born, the father refused to support the child financially, forcing the mother to pursue the case in court.
- When the custodial parent receives state and/or federal benefits for the child's care. Such benefits include the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and daycare. This means that even if parents shared joint custody if one of them received benefits, the other would be responsible for reimbursing the government for those benefits.
It's for this reason that it's a bad idea for two parents to share custody or even live together while milking benefits. Eventually, the state and/or federal government will expect one or the other to pay those benefits back.
Furthermore, child support isn't ordered solely by the courts. Other state and local authorities (depending on the state) also have the authority to order a parent to pay child support. Only in rare circumstances does the federal government — the OCSE especially — become involved in enforcing child support matters.
When Does the Federal Government Step In?
According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Congress passed the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) in 1992, allowing for federal child support enforcement. However, CSRA only targeted "the most egregious offenders," permitting the majority of low-level offenders to slip through the cracks. In 1998, Congress passed the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA) to fix the CSRA's loophole. Even then, the OCSE won't step in until the state's DHS requests assistance enforcing child support.
Child Support Guides By State
Each state has different rules and regulations regarding child support, making the entire process confusing and overwhelming. Luckily, DoNotPay has child support guides for each state right here at your fingertips.
And it you need help sorting out your child support situation, DoNotPay can help with that too.
DoNotPay Can Simplify Joint Custody Child Support
Just follow these three steps.
- Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.
- Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.
- Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.
And that's it! DoNotPay will file the demand letter on your behalf. If you don't hear back or see the payment within 2 weeks of delivery, you can escalate the case to court.
If you require further information on child support or want to help a friend or family member in another state, you will find DoNotPay to be a tremendous help.
How to Negotiate Joint Custody Child Support
Since child support regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another, you would have to contact your local DHS for more detailed information. Generally, child support is paid until a child is both age 18 and out of high school. But every situation is unique.
Typically speaking, you would need to hire an attorney to have your request heard. But legal fees for child support litigation can be prohibitively expensive. While co-parents aren't allowed to decide child support on their own, you both could present an agreement to the court.
When co-parents show the court they're capable of working together, it's likely to grant the request. At the end of the day, ensuring that child support is enforceable is what courts find more important. If your child support agreement will not be considered legal nor legally binding until a judge signs off on it.
Additionally, just because a co-parent agrees to the other parent's child support proposal doesn't mean the judge will.
For example, if the proposed agreement seems financially disproportionate to the state's requirements, the judge may raise or lower it to match. This is why it's crucial for you and the co-parent to research child support laws in the state where the child lives. Here are some other things to keep in mind when doing your research:
- Only one co-parent can claim child support. Even though you both have joint custody, your child or children will most likely spend more time at one parent's house than the other.
- Child support contracts can be changed depending on several factors. For example, if the child starts spending more time at the other parent's house, they could ask for a slight deduction.
- Consider all potential costs such as healthcare, education, childcare, tax consequences, medication, among other things.
- Are you or the co-parent living above your financial means? If so, it's a good idea to consider creating a budget and cutting back unnecessary spending.
DoNotPay Can Also Help You With Other issues
Surf the DoNotPay website for longer than 10 minutes, and you're likely to feel as if you possess keys to unlock the world. Whether fighting an unjust parking ticket, trying a Netflix trial subscription for free, disputing and winning credit card chargebacks, or countless other things, you'll finally grasp the saying, "Power can be intoxicating."
That's exactly what the DoNotPay app provides users: the power to have things their way. No need to enter any more one-sided agreements or get stiffed out of your hard-earned cash, hence "DoNotPay." Contact us today to learn more or to get assistance with something specific.