Child support: Keeping emotions in check

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Child Support on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

Child support is often described as a formula. You submit your financial records, such as your W-2s, tax records and any child-related expenses, and the courts plug the totals into a spreadsheet that spits out a number at the bottom telling the noncustodial parent how much he or she owes the other parent. While child support being a formula is mostly true — there are some situations that may qualify for deviations from the standard amount — for parents, this can be an extremely emotional topic.

It’s normal to be unhappy with the child support order, and it’s often the case that at least one party believes the support amount is either too high or too low. However, many parents also use child support as an excuse to air their anger at each other. When this happens, it’s very easy for the children to get put in the middle and feel like they are the reason for the animosity. They may have think that if they didn’t need the money for sports or summer camp or new clothes for school, maybe their parents wouldn’t fight as much.

While it can be very difficult, it’s important to keep financial matters separate from any visitation exchanges. Avoid talking about child support when your children are present, and try to keep your communications with your ex-spouse as civil as possible.

If you believe that the child support order is unfair or circumstances have changed since your divorce, a modification may be possible. However, it is important to discuss the particulars of your situation with a family law attorney to determine the next steps.