The truth of the matter is being equally yoked is much more than a biblical saying. When deciding a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation, there are three main factors the court will consider.
- Custodial Time
Child support is determined based on the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Normally the amount of time is based off the custodial schedule in the court order. If the custodial parent has sole custody and the non-custodial parent has very minimal or no visitation than the child support obligation will be higher. In situations where the non-custodial parent has a minimal visitation schedule (70/30), the child support will be proportionate to the time each parent has the child. If the parents have joint or shared custody and each parent has equal custodial time most likely there may not be a child support obligation or the child support obligation will be fairly low.
Both parents are responsible for financially providing for a child. The D.C. child support guidelines requires the income information of both parents. The issue arises when one parent earns significantly more than the other parent. This is important because in the eyes of the court, children should live the same with each parent. So if the non-custodial parent earns $60,000 and the custodial parent earns $30,000, the non-custodial parent will pay more to ensure the child’s living condition with the custodial parent is on the same level as when the child is with the non- custodial parent.
Health insurance, daycare, and braces are all expenses, which parents should share equally. If the non-custodial parent elects not to contribute to these expenses, the custodial parent will be credited with paying the full amount. But that doesn’t mean the non-custodial parent is off the hook, his share of the expenses will be included in the amount of the support obligation. So for example, if the child has $3000.00 of extraordinary expenses annually which is paid by the custodial parent, then the non-custodial parent’s support obligation will increase by $125.00 per month.
Too often, non-custodial parents will just agree to whatever the custodial parent asks for as it relates to custody or refuse to assist with extra expenses without knowing the financial ramifications. But knowledge is power, so I hope once non-custodial parents understand how the choices they make contribute to the calculation of their child support obligation they will make more reasonable and rational decisions.Read More
I cannot keep count of the number of clients who have sat in my office asking if there is any way I could help void or modify a consent order for custody or child support. They all say the same thing, “I didn’t feel like I could say no” or “I just wanted to get out of there.” Well, I am here to tell you that you can say no.
Here are the top four reasons why you should consider saying no to a consent agreement:
- You should say no because the negotiated terms of the agreement will be reduced to writing and merged into the court’s order. One would think if he/she withdraws their consent the order could be modified, but that’s not the case. In a custody or child support case, a court order may only be modified if the court finds there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances.
- You should say no if there are specific issues you want the judge to know and to document those issues for the record. Most times when parties enter into an agreement, the judge is provided a copy of the prepared agreement so it can be read on the record and then signed. The process doesn’t allow for a lot of discussions and usually only takes a few minutes. What most people don’t realize is that not speaking up could hurt them later, should they want to modify the order based on issues which existed at the time the agreement was made.
- You should say no if the suggested terms are not aligned with your desired outcome. Entering into a custody agreement with a visitation schedule or drop-off and pick-up times that are not compatible with your schedule could be used against you later if you are habitually late or a no-show. If the agreement does not include the amount of quality time with your child as you would like or requires supervised visitation and there isn’t a substantive reason for restricted access to your child, chances are the agreement is not fair and reasonable.
- You should say no and excuse yourself back to the courtroom if you feel pressured to agree to something which makes you feel uncomfortable. That feeling is probably your gut telling you “don’t do it.”. We all have an inner voice which seems to foresee all of the problems we will face because of the decision we are contemplating at the time. And if there is any time to listen to that little voice, this would be the time.
Consent agreements between parents are ideal as I believe most judges would prefer to have parents work together to decide what is best for their children. However, both parents should be confident that they have been heard and the decision to enter into an agreement should be voluntary.
If this isn’t the case speak up and request a trial.Read More