3 Common Child Support Questions That Non-Custodial Parents May Have

Posted on: 28 August 2015


If you're a non-custodial parent, you may have a lot of questions regarding your rights, how your ex's lifestyle will affect your required child support payments, and what happens should your ex remarry. Below are three such questions and their answers.

1. If the Support I Send Isn't Being Used Directly on the Child, Can I Stop Paying It?

To stop paying child support would be a direct violation of a court order which would put you at risk for fines and even jail.

The fact is, the child support you're paying to the custodial parent of your child belongs to them, not the child. If your child is properly housed, fed, and receiving appropriate medical care and all other needs are being adequately met, there is nothing that can be done about how the child support you send is otherwise spent. The only exception to this rule would be if you were paying additional support (on top of the child suppot order already in place) for extracirrculars or another specific need. Even then, however, support should never be stopped without consulting with a lawyer and having the support order modified.

2. My Ex Makes More than Me, So Why Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

As a parent of your child you're legally required to support them financially.

While the child support equation will factor in both you and your ex's income, it also considers the amount of parenting time each parent legally has. If your ex is the primary or sole custodial parent, their income will have less impact on the amount you pay than if you were sharing custody. When determining child support payments, the courts strongly consider the rights of the child – one such consideration is the right of your child to receive support from both parents. This means that, while the custodial parent's income will be considered, you still have a legal obligation to pay what you can.

3. If My Ex Remarries, Will My Child Support Payments Be Modified?

Unless your ex's new spouse legally adopts your child, the support you pay will likely not be affected at all.

It is the legal responsibility of both parents to support their children. If you're a legal parent, even if you don't have physical custody, you will still bear that responsibility no matter how much your ex's new spouse makes. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as if your ex's new spouse is paying the majority of your ex's and child's bills – this might mean that your ex would now have an "increased" income because their bills and obligations have decreased. It's important to consult with your attorney on such matters, however, before deciding to file a child support modification petition.

For answers to more of your child support and custody questions, consult with your family law attorney.