A formal court order is one of the most important things you can have in your child support case. It protects both the parent paying the support and the parent receiving support because it ensures that there are specific parameters for the payments. Either party violating these parameters may result in the case having to go before the court and negative consequences for the parent who is not following the terms. Because of this, it’s important to make sure the agreement is thorough and covers all of the different elements.
The court order should include the basics, such as which parent will be paying the child support and who will be receiving it. The order should include the names and ages of each child subject to the support order as well as when the payments are to start and whether anything needs to be backdated. Other important things to include are how often the payments should be made, the exact amount of the payments and at what date the payments will end.
In addition to the formal court order, there may also be the child support worksheet attached. This form lists the income for both parents as well as any pertinent expenses or adjustments. If these numbers change significantly as time passes, it may be grounds for a review of any change to the child support order.
Sometimes, there are cases that involve children who require special or extraordinary expenses. These should be stated in the order and include the type of expense, which child it relates to and how much each parent will be responsible for. An experienced attorney can review your child support agreement and note any areas that may need a closer look.
Source: Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, “Obtaining a court order,” accessed May 05, 2016
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