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There are many myths circulating about child support that often paint it in a negative light. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking can have serious consequences for the children who are intended to benefit from having financial support from both of their parents. Falling into the trap of believing these myths makes it even harder to reach an agreement with your partner regarding the amount and frequency of the payments. For this reason, it is important to separate the truth from the lies regarding child support so that you can go into your negotiations with a full understanding of what meeting your child’s needs actually involves.

Myth: Only One Parent Pays Child Support
Although the primary custodial parent typically is the one who receives child support payments, this does not mean that one person is expected to be the sole source of support. Instead, the income and financial obligations of both parents are taken into account when child support is figured. While circumstances can vary, this usually results in both parents providing financial contributions that benefit the child.

Myth: Parents Have to Pay Child Support to See Their Children
It is important to understand that child support and visitation are two completely separate things. Using a lack of providing financial support as a reason to prevent your ex from seeing their child is wrong; in fact, it may be illegal if you have a court-ordered visitation agreement in place. This is because children benefit from having a relationship with both of their parents, and spending time together is not part of the child support deal. If the paying parent is late with child support, avoid getting your kid involved and seek legal advice to get the payments coming again.

Myth: Paying Parents Can Say How the Money Is Spent
A parent who receives child support is expected to use it to meet their child’s needs. This can apply to many types of purchases. For instance, child support may be used to pay rent or daycare costs, buy clothing, food or health care for the child. It might also be used to purchase toys or supplies for school. However, the paying parent does not get a choice in saying how the money is spent. While it may be hard to make payments without seeing how the money is used, this is part of the trust that is placed in the primary custodial parent.

Fact: Parents Face Penalties For Failing to Pay
There are consequences in place when parents fail to pay according to their court ordered schedule. For instance, a parent who gets behind on their child support may be charged interest on back payments, lose their driver’s license, or they may even face jail time if they skip payments for a certain amount of time.

Fact: Child Support Orders Can Be Changed
Contrary to popular belief, child support orders are not set in stone. This is because many things can change as a child grows up. For instance, you may find that you can no longer afford to pay the full amount of child support that you owe. When this happens, it is better to seek modification of your court order rather than ignoring your obligation. If you receive payments, you may also find that it is not enough if your child develops a health problem or the overall cost of raising your child goes up. Knowing that you can change your child support order gives you greater flexibility when it comes to meeting your kid’s needs.

Fact: Child Support Amounts Involve Many Factors
It is important to understand that child support agreements sometimes involve more than just money. In fact, a parent may be ordered to place their child on their health insurance, pay a portion of their daycare or cover certain medical costs. Since every family’s situation is unique, every factor of a child’s financial needs is considered when calculating the cost of support.

Knowing the truth about child support makes it easier to go into those divorce negotiations. Child support is not meant to punish one parent or allow the other to hold something over their ex’s head. Instead, child support is designed to help families make sure that children have what they need to grow into healthy and happy adults.

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