Parents are responsible for the support, care, and well-being of their children. When parents separate or divorce, the court decides whether one or both parents has custody of the child. Child custody may determine which parent pays child support. If one parent has custody, the other parent usually pays child support. A judge determines child support using the state child support guidelines, which considers the income of both parents. Therefore, a parent who shares custody may still have to pay the other parent.
How Do You Petition for Child Support?
A parent who seeks child support can hire a private attorney, include the issue in your divorce case, or file a case through the state child support services. To start the process, both parents must provide information about themselves including, current addresses, employment, and finances.
Before deciding child support, the court must identify the legal mother and father of the child to determine child custody. Therefore, if there is any doubt about who the father of the child is, the parents and child may take a paternity test. Then, a court order names the legal father based on the test results.
What If You Don't Pay Child Support?
You are in violation of a court order when you do not pay your child support. The court has options to make sure it receives your overdue payments:
- Taking money that you win (ex. lottery winnings)
- Taking money out of your tax refund; or
- Taking money out of your paycheck
Other consequences you may face for failing to pay your support payments include:
- Denying you a passport
- Sending you to jail
- Making you pay a fine; or
- Reporting your late payments to a credit agency
Although Idaho child support services can determine the actions to take for unpaid child support, there are certain punishments that automatically go into effect the moment you do not pay on time. A judge also may give instructions in the court order for what to do if the paying parent fails to pay.
What Recourse can the Other Parent Have if You Don't Pay for Support?
A parent can file a lawsuit against the paying parent to get unpaid child support. The paying parent has a duty to pay all child support payments in full and on time.
When a judge decides that you get child support, it also provides you with different ways to get the money when the other parent fails to pay, such as:
- Filing a lawsuit in family court; or
- Filing a claim with the Idaho Child Support Services (ICSS).
The family court and ICSS have the authority to force the paying parent to fulfill his financial obligation to pay child support. The owed parent may not use her own remedies, such as not disobeying a legal visitation order, in order to get overdue child support from the paying parent.
How Can You Stop Paying Child Support?
A paying parent must use legal methods to stop paying child support. You must go back to court and get a court order saying that you do not have to pay anymore. A judge may stop you from paying child support if:
- Your child now lives with you;
- Your child becomes 18 years old;
- You have lost your job;
- You have a serious illness; or
- You find out that you are not the father.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
Contact a local Idaho family law lawyer today to help you understand your rights and responsibilities for receiving or paying child support.