Sometimes relationships fail and parents are left to share child rearing responsibilities. As a parent, you have both responsibilities and rights involving decisions related to your child. Although in some situations, joint custody arrangements are reached, in the vast majority of cases, non-custodial fathers are required to pay child support.
So, how does the child support system work and what does a father need to know in order to manage his obligations? This article contains important child support information like laws of child custody and how much child support a father will be required to pay.
If I was never married to the child’s mother, do I still have to pay child support?
Yes. The obligation to support a child is not conditioned by marriage. State laws vary somewhat on the definition of a parent, so if there is some doubt about your parentage, you will want to consult with a family law attorney in your state.
How much child support will I be required to pay?
In Australia, child support agencies calculate the amount of money you are required to pay. This calculation is based on the parents’ income, the care arrangements and the ages of the children. This amount changes every year and parents have the option to come make arrangements of their own.
How long do I have to pay child support?
Australian law generally requires you to make child support payments until your child is no longer a minor or your parental rights are otherwise terminated. You are also no longer required to pay child support if your child is “emancipated”, that is, declared a self-supporting adult earlier by the courts prior to turning 18. There are some exceptions to this rule, like if your child has special needs or joins military on active-duty.
What happens if I don’t make my child support payments as ordered?
Failing to meet your child support obligations is seen as defying an order of the court and could result in legal action. This could result in serious consequences such as jail time, reduction of your tax refund, property seizure or suspension of driver’s license.
What if circumstances affecting my child support payments change?
If you become unemployed or have some other extenuating circumstance, it is important you seek legal advice and have your child support amount modified. Only the court can change a mandated child support payment, so any modification would have to be submitted to a judge. If both spouses agree, it is usually a pretty simple process. Where disagreement arises, the request will need to be submitted to a family law solicitor for review.
Child support is a topic which tends to divide opinions. No separation is easy but by understanding your rights and responsibilities as a farther, paying child support can be. As Brisbane’s family law specialists, Rostron Carlyle can help you understand family law matters such as child support, child custody, visitation and alimony. Their dedicated team of family law solicitors can answer all your questions relating to divorce, custody and child support.
Contact child support lawyers today on (07) 3009 8444.