Child Support Attorneys In Lake County, Indiana
A failing relationship is never something that is easy to handle. Even when the separation in question is mutual, the process itself can be a hard one to endure. This is doubly true when children are involved.
Indeed, while many individuals think that the most they have to lose during a custody hearing is precious parenting time with their child, they fail to think about another important issue that will come about as a result of the court’s child custody decision: child support. It should be noted that child support is something that is almost impossible to avoid, and attempting to do so can have huge consequences.
This is why you should reach out to an experienced attorney to help you through the divorce, child custody and child support processes.
What Is Child Support?
Any attorney well-versed in family law can tell you a child deserves to have adequate financial support growing up, regardless of the situation between their parents. That means that even if the parents in question are separated, the child still has a right to financial support to ensure that their needs are covered. And while there is a growing idea that child support is only meant to cover a child’s bare necessities, it should be noted that child support is used to support the child in a wide variety of ways.
While it should of course go toward clothing, shelter and food for the child in question, it can also be used to help cover their medical expenses, their entertainment, any fees related to education (including college expenses, in some cases), child care, travel expenses and even things like extracurricular activities. That means that a parent receiving child support can use that support to do things like buy groceries, pay rent, pay for a babysitter, pay for summer camp or even things like video games.
Child support is mandated by the court system. That means that a court tells you that you must pay a certain amount of money at a specific interval, and you are required to make those payments.
Just like with rent, these payments are not optional, and falling behind can have serious consequences for the parent who is late. Arrest warrants can even be issued on the basis of failure to pay child support, and the parent in question could find themselves in jail. It is important, then, to ensure that you get the very best child support agreement possible before the divorce is final.
How Is Child Support Determined?
There are different models that courts use to determine child support amounts. In Indiana, courts determine child support by considering a number of child support guidelines while completing a child support worksheet.
This takes many factors into account, including the parents’ gross income (the income that the child would have had access to had the parents not divorced or separated), the amount of time the parent in question has custody of the child, the estimated expenses of raising the child (this could vary depending upon the child in question – any medical issues, for example, could affect the way this determination is weighted) and how much money the custodial parent makes.
Once this determination has been made, the courts will issue a child support fee for the noncustodial parent to pay, usually on a per month basis.
What If I Can’t Pay?
Paying your child support is not an option – it is a legal requirement. Failure to make these payments can have grave consequences for the parent in question. Some individuals mistakenly believe that they can’t really get in trouble for not paying their child support because the receiving, or custodial, parent “can’t do anything” about the situation.
The reality of the situation is that the receiving parent can take you back to court for nonpayment. Whether you show up or not, if the courts find that the noncustodial parent has a point and you really are behind in payments, you could find yourself facing contempt proceedings that could end up with you behind bars. Additionally, if you fail to pay your child support, your paychecks, tax refunds and even lottery winnings can all be withheld to help meet your obligation to your child.
When you are facing a child support agreement, it is important that you understand exactly how much you must pay and by what date. You should also understand how to go about requesting a change in payment should the need arise. In order to help better ensure that the child support you end up paying or receiving is fair, you should hire an experienced divorce and child support attorney. Call Funk & Wendlinger, LLC, in Schererville today at 219-865-0002 or send an email and let our experienced attorneys help!