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Child Support and Visitation: A Guide for Beginners

Posted on December 12th, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Child Support and Visitation: A Guide for Beginners

Divorce can have an impact on almost every aspect of your life, from how you plan your future to how you manage your finances. If you have young children, then questions related to child support payments and visitation rights will likely pop up. While your lawyer may be able to help you in those areas, there are a few basic points you can keep in mind to ensure your rights as a parent are not being violated.

Child Support Basics 

When you visit court to finalize your divorce, the decree may include details about child support payments and how the amount you pay is calculated. These payments are designed to provide for your children in a variety of ways that can include:

  • Medical costs 
  • Educational supplies (including college tuition) 
  • Clothing 

Your ex-spouse may ask for other costs as well, such as if your children participate in school activities, such as cheerleading, band, or drama club, and require funds to participate.

Payments and Visitation 

Some states use what is called an “income shares model” to determine child support payment amounts. This model also takes visitation circumstances into effect. For example, if you share custody time with your ex-spouse, you may pay less in child support, depending on your state’s judicial guidelines. Your lawyer can help you determine those laws.

Withholding Visitation 

If you have complete custody of your child and your ex-spouse misses payments or does not pay at all, you may want to withhold visitation in retaliation. However, while you may think this fair, it may only harm your child in the long run. The courts may also punish you if your ex decides to take you back to court over visitation. It may be a good idea to ask your lawyer for advice instead of banning visitation.

Avoiding Payments 

You may believe that avoiding visitation gives you the right to forgo your child support payments, but most states require you to fulfill your financial responsibilities whether you see your kids or not. Avoiding visitation may also severely damage the relationship with your kids. The income shares model may require that your spouse pay a share of support, depending on his or her current income, so you may want to ask your lawyer about how the costs will be divided and how that might take some of the burden off you.

Child support payments and visitation rights are often closely related, and you may need assistance with understanding the importance of both. Contact a lawyer, like a child support lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti, & Nichols Attorneys at Law, today for further information and to schedule an initial appointment.

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