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5 Biggest Child Support Questions

Divorce is one of the hardest legal events anyone will ever face. When you divorce, you face losses that are not just emotional, but financial and legal as well. This blog series will help answer some basic questions you might have about divorce.

Back in the day, child support generally fell on the father after a divorce, and only ended on the day the child turned 18. Nowadays, more mothers are working, same-sex couples are getting married, having kids, and divorcing, and there are more factors taken into account when deciding how long child support will continue. The general idea of child support -- that the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent some amount for the child's food, clothing, school, etc. -- is still the same, but determining who pays, how much, and for how long has gotten a bit more complicated.

Here are five of the biggest child support questions, and some answers from our archives:

1. Can Child Support Go Directly to a Child?

Maybe you don't trust your ex. Or maybe you'd like to put money into a trust for your kid. Unfortunately, child support for a minor child generally has to go to a parent. There are some exceptions, however.

2. Can I Go to Jail for Failure to Pay Child Support?

If you have an issue with the amount of child support you're paying, or with visitation with your child, or any other aspect of custody and support, think twice about stopping child support payments. Courts can impose jail sentences for parents who don't pay.

3. Can I Fight a Child Support Increase?

Some child support modifications are good, like accounting for a lost job or other change in financial circumstances. Some of those modifications are increases and can put a strain on your bank account. Find out how to challenge a child support increase.

4. Does Child Support End Upon Graduation?

For parents paying child support, the biggest question is: When will it end? The usual answer is: When the child turns 18. But what if they're already out of the house and maybe on their way to college? What about the younger siblings?

5. How Long Can I Collect Past-Due Child Support?

Like student loans, the obligation to pay child support always exists, even through bankruptcy. And if an ex is behind on payments they still owe the full amount, even after the child turns 18. But some states do have a statute of limitations on how long you have to collect.

Child support issues can be complicated -- legally and emotionally. Make sure you've got an experienced child support attorney on your side.

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