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Here's what noncustodial parents should know about child support

As a noncustodial parent, there are many things that you need to remember. One is that you need to pay child support if it's ordered.

Child support tends to polarize everyone because one parent may not think it's fair to have to pay while others think that the paying parent isn't doing enough. The reality is that every state has guidelines for parents to follow, so that their children are getting a fair amount of compensation from the noncustodial parent.

How long will you have to pay child support?

There is a myth that you only have to pay support until your child is 18. That's not always true. In fact, there are a few times when your child may no longer qualify for support. Child support may end when:

  • If your child is 18
  • When your child joins and becomes active-duty military
  • Your parental rights are terminated
  • Your minor child is emancipated

You may need to pay support longer than just age 18 if your child is disabled or has special needs.

Why does one parent usually pay child support?

The reasoning is that the parent who has primary custody is fulfilling their responsibilities by providing more time and care for their child. The other parent then makes up for some of that time when they can't be there with support.

In the case of both parents having similar or equal time with a child, the amount of support paid is determined using factors like the difference in the couple's income and the total parentage time. Keep in mind that any child support order can be modified, so what you're ordered to pay now may not be what you pay later, depending on your circumstances.

Can you withhold child support?

You can't legally. If you don't make payments for any reason, then you can be held in contempt and have the court enforce the order through garnishing your wages or other steps. Whether you believe the other parent is not spending the money correctly or you think that you can get more time with your children by withholding support, the reality is that doing so is illegal.

You have the obligation to pay support, and not doing so can get you into deep trouble with the law as well as potentially threatening your visitation or custody rights. Your Pennsylvania family law attorney can give you more information if there is a reason why you don't want to pay.

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