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Child support 101: Understand the basics of these payments

Child support orders are the cornerstone of the financial agreement with your ex to provide support for your children. You have to make sure that you have thought about the terms of this order and understand what it all means.

Unlike many aspects of child custody, child support is usually governed by a government agency. This agency ensures that the child support payments come from the paying parent and are given to the recipient parent. When they aren't made as ordered, the paying parent can face some legal issues.

It is important to realize that child support orders often entail more than just an order for the exchange of regular payments. They also include information about paying for the child's health insurance, uninsured medical bills and a myriad of other possibilities. Everything from child care costs to extracurricular activity expenses can be discussed in this agreement.

You must remember that child support orders might be eligible to be modified if either parent's circumstances change significantly. If the paying parent loses his or her job, the amount of child support due might be reduced. If that parent gets a raise, the payments might increase.

In order to have the order modified, you will need to seek a modification. If you know that you are going to struggle to make payments due to a change that was out of your hands, file the modification petition as soon as possible.

If you are the paying parent, remember that these payments help to support your children. Even though you are paying the other parent, they don't go to support that parent. Children are expensive, so the chance that your child support money is going to your ex instead of your children is highly unlikely.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support Basics," accessed April 13, 2018

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