Child support is court-ordered funds to be paid by one parent to the custodial parent of a minor child after a divorce or separation. Iowa utilizes the Child Support Guidelines which bases the amount of child support on each parents' income, number of children and special needs of the children. Child support may also include health insurance, school tuition or other expenses.
Child support payments are due at a certain time every month. The paying parent can make the child support payments to a child support recovery unit or the Clerk of Court, which will then send the payments to the custodial parent, or can have their wages garnished meaning the child support payments may be withheld from their paycheck.
Either parent may seek a change (increase or decrease) in child support at any time if a substantial change in circumstances occurred after the court entered the order. To ask for an increase in child support, the receiving parent must be able to prove to the court that the paying parent's income has increased, specifically if the current amount of child support does not meet the child's immediate needs. Child support may also be increased due to such circumstances as medical treatment, therapy or special tutoring.
The paying parent may seek to have child support decreased under such circumstances as a reduction in income, loss of a job or if the custodial parent has an increase in their income. Generally however, courts are disinclined to decrease child support payments.
Non-custodial parents who refuse to pay their child support obligation are often termed as dead-beat parents. In 2003, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 68% of child support cases had arrearages.
Although a non-custodial parent is not paying court ordered child support, the custodial parent can not interfere in the visitation schedule. In the same sense, the paying parent (non-custodial) cannot stop making child support payments because the custodial parent is not in compliance with court ordered visitation schedule. These are matters that need to be addressed in court and an experienced family law attorney can assist you with these matters.
If a non-custodial parent does not pay court ordered child support, he/she can be held in contempt or prosecuted for failure to support, therefore being taken into custody and remanded to jail. Your driver's license and other licenses can be suspended. Your tax refunds can be seized. The courts have numerous options to enforce child support orders.
If the biological parents were never married, they both still owe the child financial support. In some cases, the person named as the father denies paternity and requests a DNA test. Once paternity of the child is determined, an order for child support will be entered.
Child support generally terminates when a child turns 18, graduates from high school, or becomes self-supporting.
If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa family law attorney, representing clients in Waukon, Iowa at the Dillon Law P.C. Give us a call at (563) 578-1850 or complete our inquiry form.