If you are a parent paying child support, it may seem like a burden every month having your wages withheld for child support, especially since there is no way to micromanage how that support is being spent on your children. You might wonder, is my child getting the care my support provides?
Some parents will even try to find any excuse to terminate their child support to spare them the "hassle" of having to tend to their children. However, it would help if you remembered your support is for their prosperity.
What Does Child Support Cover?
If you are a parent receiving child support, you may understand how hard it can feel to provide adequate support with the money you are given. You may feel like the money you receive will hardly put a dent into what you expect to pay.
This is because there is no fixed cost on what it takes to raise a child, and every child is born into a different set of circumstances. Everything from where a child is returned to their parents' jobs will play a factor in how much resources are available for raising a child.
If you are paying child support, you should know that that support will cover your child's necessities of life. A condition is required to raise your child in a safe and healthy environment. A child's requirements include a place of shelter with the proper utilities, adequate food, and clothing, even down to having transportation readily available for them to commute.
Things that would not necessarily be necessities but are still essential to raising a child can also be uninsured medical expenses, educational expenses like tuition or school supplies, and extracurricular expenses. These types of costs are not typically included in child support payments, and a custodial parent, or the parent who received the child support, will likely have to factor those expenses in to make it work. The bottom line is raising a kid is more expensive than most parents are prepared for.
But My Child Has a Job Now?
Most people believe the common misconception that once their child begins working, they will no longer have to provide child support. After all, they should be able to provide for themselves now, entirely, right?
The obvious answer is no! Any earnings a child makes will be for their recreational spending, not to force a child to raise themselves. As mentioned above, your child support is used to provide a child's necessities of life, such as shelter, food, and clothing. Stopping child support would be the equivalent of your child paying their fair share of rent and utilities, the clothing they wear, down to the food they have to eat to survive. If this were true, most children would struggle to support themselves, and there are many explanations and reasons why this would happen.
US Dept. of Labor Protects Our Children
To begin, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has set a guideline to promote all wage earners' welfare, give them fair working conditions, and more. Even more specifically, The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has set the minimum age for employment at just 14 years old but limits the number of hours a minor can work if they are under the age of 18.
Most teenagers will never work full-time employment or 40 hours, and most will likely only be making minimum wage since they do not possess the proper certifications and skills most adults have working in their careers. Not to mention, most teenagers will be busy with their school and extracurricular activities, and most will never work until their adulthood. Overall, these jobs will mostly be entry-level jobs.
Will it Decrease as the Child Gets Older?
Another question frequently asked is if child support decreases as a child gets older. Once again, this is a huge misconception, and an obligor, or the parent required to make child support payments, will not see a decrease in child support.
Child support in Texas is determined using a guideline as most states have adopted their policies, and most people will be paying %20 of their net monthly income for one child. For each additional child, that percentage will increase by %5, and so on as more children are involved.
These amounts will usually stay constant, but child support can always be modified if circumstances have changed so much. This would require the involvement of the family law courts to review the previous order that ordered that child support amount. Some events that can reduce the amount of child support an obligor pays include losing their job.
When Does Child Support Stop?
Lastly, there are few reasons why child support would stop altogether, and most parents should know. These reasons include:
- A child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school; whichever occurs later
- The child begins to live with the parent who pays child support
- The child's parents get back together
- The child is no longer financially dependent on either parent, known as an emancipation
- The child dies
- The child marries
- The child enlists in the United States armed forces and begins active service.
- The child's disabilities are removed.
More importantly, a parent should always be familiar with and understand the child support order they have been ordered to follow. There may be reasons why your child support would continue after any of the reasons mentioned above have happened.
In summary, if you have a child working, that will not stop your child support payments. There are many reasons child support can end or may bring about a modification of the child support order. Child support will not decrease as your child gets older either. If you are unsure of what your child support order states and means or are still troubled with remaining questions regarding child support, please contact our office. We offer a FREE 30-minute consultation with one of our many experienced attorneys who expert in child support.