Child support is the legal responsibility a non-custodial parent has to contribute financially to the needs of his or her child. Child support payments can be used for the child’s medical expenses, childcare, housing, food, clothing, education, and recreational activities.
The state has enacted the Child Support Guidelines to assess the appropriate level of support and each parent’s financial responsibilities for medical and childcare expenses. The Guidelines determine the amount of child support the non-custodial parent is required to pay based on each parent’s weekly income.
The non-custodial parent must make child support payments until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (but in no event older than age 19), whichever comes first. Therefore, a parent can still receive child support if the child is over the age of 18 and still in high school.
Additionally, if a child is emotionally, physically, or intellectually impaired and resides with a parent who the child is primarily dependent on for care, the court may order support for the child up to the age of 21.
Late child support payments are considered ‘in arrears.’ To discourage late payments and enforce the payment of child support debt, the state has the power to garnish wages and tax refunds, and, in some cases, order the non-compliant parent to be held in jail until the payments are made.
Notably, unpaid child support does not disappear once the minor turns 18. Instead, the payments must be made until the debt is paid off. If a parent is not receiving the unpaid child support payments after the child turns 18, it is within his or her rights to report this to the Support Enforcement Services Unit.
If the non-custodial parent of your child is failing to make his or her payments, or if you wish to request an initial child support order, consider contacting an attorney for assistance. The attorneys and staff at Dolan Divorce Lawyers are dedicated to helping you get the payments you need to efficiently care for your child. Contact the firm for more information today.