What is Child Support
Child support typically refers to court-ordered payments a parent may be responsible for after a divorce or separation1. These funds are usually reserved for a child’s housing, food and clothing, but may also be used for other necessary expenses in raising a child.
The noncustodial parent, or the parent who does not have physical custody of the child is often the parent required to pay child support.
Calculating Child Support
Courts typically determine child support payments based off of the noncustodial parent’s monthly net income. Courts may also take into consideration the amount of time the noncustodial parent has physical custody of the child. For example, if the noncustodial parent has physical custody of the child for two weeks out of the month, this may help to reduce his or her required child support payments.
It is important to note, calculating your child support payments may vary significantly based upon which state you live in.
For example, according to the Florida child support guidelines, a parent in Florida who makes $6,000 in net income per month may be required to pay approximately $1,121 per month or about 18.6 percent of their monthly net income for one child2.
Alternatively, according to the Texas child support guidelines, a parent in Texas who makes $6,000 in net income per month may be required to pay approximately $1,200 per month or about 20 percent of their monthly net income for one child3.
What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support?
Family law courts take nonpayment of child support very seriously. Individuals may be required to pay significant fines and may face felony charges for child support payments which are longer than 2 years overdue.
Apart from federal prosecution, the other consequences for not paying child support may include:
- Court-ordered wage garnishment
- Court-ordered property and asset seizure
- Suspended driver’s license
- Suspended business license
- Unable to receive tax refund