When leaving a relationship involving children, child support usually becomes a point of disagreement between parents. It is important to understand if you have to pay child support and all of the details associated with payments. You also need to know if you have right to lower or even stop child support, and how you can go about enforcing such a right.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

In Alaska, if a parent has their child for less than 30% of the year, then the other parent has primary physical custody. This also means that they owe child support to the primary physical custodial parent. There are separate calculations you have to do if you have shared physical or divided physical custody to properly distribute the financial burden of raising a child.

How Can I Petition for Child Support?

If you live in Alaska, you can file for child support either through the court or the Child Support Services Division (CSSD). However, you can only obtain child support through the court as part of a custody or divorce case. The court adheres to Rule 90.3 in issuing a child support order. There are forms the court will give you that will help you and the court figure out how much child support you are owed by the other parent.

If you do not have a current custody or divorce lawsuit going on, then you can obtain an administrative order for child support through CSSD. In order to file with the CSSD, you have to fill out an application and provide as much information as you can about the other parent. The caseworker assigned to your case will be able to find out how much money the other parent makes if you do not know how much they are currently earning.

What If I Am Ordered to Pay Child Support and Refuse?

Failure to pay child support can lead the the CSSD to take it directly out of your paycheck. Alternatively, the court order property be taken from you to pay for child support. In this case, property also includes bank accounts. The state might also garnish your tax refunds. These are just a few ways that funds can be taken from you to cover unpaid child support.

Punishment for not paying child support includes taking away the delinquent parent’s driver’s or occupational licenses. You can also be reported to the credit bureaus. In the worst-case scenario, you could be found guilty of civil contempt. A conviction of civil contempt can lead to you being fined up to $5,000 or having a bench warrant issued against you, which may result in jail time.

What Can I Do If the Other Parent Withholds Visitation From Me?

A custodial parent cannot withhold visitation from a noncustodial parent just because there has been a lapse in child support payments or because they want more money. If you have a visitation schedule with your child and the other parent will not allow you visits, you can file a Motion to Enforce the Visitation Schedule. Keep a careful record about when you tried to visit and were denied. If the other parent keeps getting in the way of your visits, you can file another motion to have visitation enforced.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

It is very important that if you stop paying child support you use legal methods otherwise you could be in trouble with the court and find yourself punished for missing payments.

To stop making payments, one way is to disestablish paternity that shows that you are not the child’s parent and, thus, should not be held financially responsible for the child. You have to fill out a form Complaint by Current Father to Disestablish Paternity and submit it to court. Sometimes, both parties can agree to do this during a divorce. To prove you are not the father, you can either do a DNA test or have all the parties sign an affidavit stating that you are not the father. You should be careful, though, because the court might consider you the psychological parent even if you are not the biological parent and order you to pay child support.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

Child support is a complicated matter that can impact people for a large part of their lives, and having the right lawyer to help you figure it out is important. An Alaska child support lawyer can assist you with your child support problems.