Child support can be a contentious and confusing topic for many parents. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding child support that can lead to misunderstandings and legal issues. In this blog post, we will debunk five common child support myths and provide you with accurate information to help you navigate this complex area of family law. If you are dealing with child support issues, it is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your rights and responsibilities are protected.
Myth #1: Child support is only for custodial parents
This is a common misconception that can lead to confusion and legal disputes. In reality, child support is intended to benefit the child and ensure they have the financial resources they need to thrive. Both parents have a responsibility to contribute to their child's well-being, regardless of their custody arrangement. Non-custodial parents may be required to pay child support to help cover expenses like housing, food, clothing, and education.
Myth #2: Child support payments are fixed and cannot be changed
Child support payments are not set in stone and can be modified under certain circumstances. If there has been a significant change in either parent's financial situation, such as a job loss or a substantial increase in income, the child support order may be reviewed and adjusted. Additionally, changes in the child's needs, such as increased medical expenses or educational costs, can also be grounds for modification. To request a modification, you will need to file a petition with the court and provide evidence of the changed circumstances.
Myth #3: Child support ends when the child turns 18
While it is true that child support typically ends when the child reaches the age of majority, there are exceptions to this rule. In Tennessee, child support may continue until the child graduates from high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first. Additionally, if the child has special needs or disabilities that require ongoing support, the court may order child support to continue beyond the age of majority.
Myth #4: Child support can be withheld if the other parent denies visitation
Child support and visitation are separate legal issues, and one cannot be used as leverage against the other. Withholding child support due to denied visitation can lead to legal consequences, including wage garnishment and even jail time. If you are having issues with visitation, it is important to address these through the proper legal channels, such as filing a motion for contempt or seeking a modification of the visitation order.
Myth #5: Child support is only the responsibility of the biological parents
In some cases, stepparents or other individuals may be required to pay child support. This can occur if the stepparent has legally adopted the child or if they have assumed a significant parental role in the child's life. Additionally, if a biological parent is unable or unwilling to pay child support, the court may order another family member to contribute to the child's financial support.
Dealing with child support issues can be challenging and complicated. If you are facing a child support dispute or need assistance with modifying an existing order, the experienced family law attorneys at Horton, Ballard & Pemerton PLLC can help. We are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complex world of family law and ensure their rights and responsibilities are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your child support needs.