If I Owe Child Support Can I Just Pay Other Expenses Instead?

Divorce Lawyer

If you are a noncustodial parent and owe child support each month, there may be some issues that come up. Perhaps you don’t have the funds you need for that month, or maybe you feel the funds you’re paying are being misused. In any case, you generally can’t just take it upon yourself to change the way child support is paid. The following are some things to keep in mind regarding child support.

Paying for Expenses Directly

If you wish to pay for certain expenses directly, you will need to have written an in-kind agreement filed with the court. You can’t just decide to pay the child’s rent or utility payments instead of the agreed upon amount of child support. If there is no support order already in place and you have been making payments for the child’s living or other expenses, it’s possible the state in which you live will grant a credit for those expenses, though you will have to provide proof that the payments were made. Proof could include a canceled check or a statement that has been notarized and signed by the other parent.

Being Reimbursed for Expenses

If you choose to purchase presents or other things for your child, and you’re the noncustodial parent, you generally won’t be reimbursed for those things. It’s possible if there is an in-kind agreement, that if you purchase large gifts, such as an expensive Christmas present, it may go toward child support. This solely depends on your agreement and whether it has been approved in a court.

Stopping or Pausing Support

In most situations, it is only under extenuating circumstances that a court will stop your support payments. In many cases, child support is garnished from the noncustodial parent’s wages, so he or she may never even see it. If you feel you are unable to make a payment, you need to bring it up with your lawyer and a judge right away.

In some cases, the custodial parent may file a motion to hold you in contempt of court if you miss a payment. If the judge feels it’s acceptable, you might be ordered to pay all the support you owe, in addition to the legal fees incurred due to the missed payments. Even if the other parent agrees to a reduced amount or to put payments on hold, it needs to be official with the court.

Contacting a Lawyer

Child support cases can get complicated, especially since there are so many emotions involved. If you are in this situation, contact a lawyer, like a child support lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA from Robinson & Hadeed Family Law, today for assistance.