Divorce can be lengthy and complicated, and children can exacerbate the situation. Instead of two people parting ways after legal negotiations, the court must decide how connected the spouses will remain while their children grow up. And while two parents can split the cost of raising a child between their incomes, after a divorce, the responsibility may fall primarily on a parent with sole custody. Here are a few important things for women to know about child support if they’re facing a divorce.
1. Raising a Child Is Expensive
Most people know that children add to household expenses, but did you know raising 1 child in the United States can cost anywhere from $174,690 to $372,210 from birth to age 17? This total doesn’t factor in college expenses or costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth, or adoption. If you end up with sole custody of a child, your spouse does have to pay a certain amount of child support. However, the court will determine how much is fair.
2. Women Have to Pay Child Support Too
Earlier in history, men could find jobs more easily and were regarded as the financial support structure of the family. Now, both sexes are treated more equally. Both women and men typically work, and their incomes contribute to the family’s overall financial stability. If a father gets physical custody of a child, the mother must pay child support to supplement the expenses the child will accrue. Also, if a judge rules that the mother is the custodial parent, it doesn’t mean she can save all her money for her own expenses. The court assumes that, as the custodial parent, she is already contributing her share of child support by paying the day-to-day costs of raising a child. Currently, around 15% of all people who pay child support are women.
3. Child Support Orders Can Be Modified
If a judge rules your ex has to pay a certain amount every month, this order won’t necessarily last until your child turns 18. If one of your circumstances changes, either you or your ex can ask the court tomodify the amount. For example, if your ex loses a job, he or she may be unable to continue paying child support and could ask the judge to reduce the quantity until a new job is found. Likewise, your ex could request a decrease in the payment if you found a better job that pays more. Because of your change in situation, a judge could rule that your ex owes less because of the income increase.
If you have more questions about child support, or would like to begin divorce proceedings, contact one of our Austin family law attorneys. Call us at (512) 342-9933 or fill out our online form for a case consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.