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Is There Ever a Legally Valid Reason Not to Pay Child Support?

May 21, 2020

Child support payments can cause conflict between divorced parents for years after the divorce becomes final. If the paying parent struggles to meet their obligations, the recipient parent might have to keep going back to court and threatening their ex with contempt of court and worse, using their already tight budget just to get the money that the court ordered their ex to pay for their children’s benefit. Meanwhile, the paying parent might feel that the amount they were ordered to pay is unfairly high and that they are being forced, under threat of wage garnishment or even imprisonment, to support their ex in addition to their children. When your child support arrangement causes resentment and financial hardship for all parties involved, you might feel that child support causes more problems than it solves. There are legal ways to get out of child support, but most of them are not an improvement over your current situation. If your child support arrangement is not working out, the best solution is to have the family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates help you modify your child support order.

Ways to Get Out of Paying Child Support

There are legally permissible ways to stop paying child support, but most of them are outside your control or involve circumstances that you would not wish for.

⦁ Your Child Reaches Legal Adulthood -In most cases, child support ends after your child has both turned 18 and graduated from high school. For example, if your child turns 18 in December of his senior year of high school, your child support obligations continue a few more months until he graduates. If your child’s birthday is in August and she is still 17 at graduation time, your child support obligations continue until her 18th birthday.

⦁ Your Child Becomes an Emancipated Minor – In some cases, teenagers can petition the court to declare them legally and financially independent of their parents before they turn 18. If your child becomes an emancipated minor before age 18, you are no longer responsible for paying child support.

⦁ Termination of Parental Rights – If you voluntarily terminate your parental rights, for example, if your child’s stepfather is going to adopt her, you are no longer responsible for paying support, but you also lose the right to parenting time and a say in decisions related to the child; in other words, you stop being the child’s legal parent. The same happens if the court terminates your parental rights against your wishes, as can happen when a parent is convicted on criminal charges of child abuse.

⦁ Formally Agree with Your Ex That They Do Not Need Child Support- Child support orders and parenting plans are separate. If your ex is so wealthy that they do not need your help in raising your children, you and your ex can formally agree to this in your divorce. If this happens, you still have the right to a parenting plan which specifies which days during the year you will spend with your children.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Parents Resolve Child Support Disputes

In an era where financial hardship is the rule rather than the exception, it is easy to feel that the court and your ex-spouse are inconveniencing you on purpose but remember that child support is for your children’s benefit. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh to help you modify your child support order if you cannot meet your child support obligations.