Child Support Myths Busted
Child support can be a sticky component of the law. Even with state-provided tables and extensive guidelines, every ruling granted child support to a custodial parent must take into account
unique factors. The child’s accustomed lifestyle, the new living arrangements of the parents and the income of the paying parent all come into play during the final ruling decision.
Perhaps because of this complexity, many people feel out of control during the process. This perceived helplessness has given rise to many myths about child support that parents accept as fact. Ensure that you are not falling victim to these myths as you exercise your right as a parent to pay or receive a reasonable, logical child support amount.
Myth: All Child Support Funds Go Directly to the Child
Since child support is intended to help children enjoy the lifestyle they were accustomed to before divorce, funds may not be directly related to the child’s immediate needs. For instance, a father receiving child support may have vehicle troubles he cannot afford to fix. Since he needs the vehicle to bring his child to school, he may be able to use child support funds to fix the vehicle. Arguably, this arrangement benefits the father more than the child, but the child would still suffer without the vehicle.
At the same time, allegations of child support payment misuse are common and can be investigated by the court. Modifications to agreements may be made accordingly.
Myth: Child Support Is Governed by Federal Law or Managed by Federal Courts
Each state develops and maintains their own child support laws. In fact, many state legislatures actively seek child support reforms in order to change how their state handles child support and alimony cases.
President Gerald Ford started child support as a partial entitlement program under Section IV-D of the Social Security Act. In 1996, President Bill Clinton enacted sweeping welfare reforms that did away with the federally sanctioned child support payments in favor of making payments the income-earning parent’s responsibility.
Now, each state has a system in place guiding and governing the assessment of child support payments. Many, including California, offer a set child support calculation to use as a guideline when determining payment orders. Others use tables corresponding to income and other factors. Bottom line: the federal government mostly stays out of it these days.
Myth: Child Support Payments End on the Child’s 18th Birthday
California law stipulates that the child must be 18 and no longer a full time high school student before they are no longer eligible to receive child support payments. Otherwise, the parent may have to wait until the child is 19 to cease payments.
Myth: Rulings on Child Support Arrangements Are Final
Situations change by the week, so no court can reasonably expect that a single child support agreement can remain in place for 10 or more years at a time. Instead, modifications can be made on a reasonable basis in order to accommodate life changes in the child, the custodial parent or the paying parent.
Myth: Child Support Counts As Income and Can Be Tax Deductible to the Payer
Child support payments are not deductible, and they are not reported as income according to the IRS.
If you want to avoid falling victim to these myths and fight for your full rights as a parent to receive or pay the amount of child support in which you are entitled, enlist the help of a California child support lawyer today. Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox has decades of collective experience arguing for the rights of parents in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernadino and more. Give us a call today at 909-798-3300 for a free case consultation.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.