EP 13: How Much Child Support Should You Expect?

Welcome to the thirteenth episode of Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Your host, Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Analyst, covers the issue of child support, which is of the most emotional and hot-button issues in a divorce.

This podcast will cover the subject of financial issues of child support, not child custody. It involves payments, which are mandatory, whenever minor children are present in a marriage. The age for minors differs with each state, but is generally around the age of 18. The parent who will have primary custody of the children will be the one receiving child support.

The intention of child support is to ensure that the children enjoy a lifestyle as close to the one they previously had before the parents divorced. It covers such expenses like food, after-school activities, education, and other things a child might need while growing up. It usually ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. In the case of a disabled child, child support may extend for a longer period of time.

Child support also has financial consequences for both the spouse paying and the one receiving. Unlike alimony, neither spouse directly benefits, and no tax implications are involved.

Like alimony, child support has different guidelines that determine how much support will be paid, depending upon the state. Calculators are available online that help you estimate what you might be expected to pay. From a financial perspective, it is a very important aspect of your divorce settlement. If you have young children, these payments can continue for many years.

Courts take the issue of child support very seriously because it is intended to protect the children. Child support can be modified, for example, if the spouse who is paying becomes ill, or if circumstances change for them, they can go back to court and have the amount of support modified.

Key Learning Points:

  • Child support is mandatory and involves payments whenever minor children are present in the marriage.
  • The spouse with primary custody of the children will be the one receiving child support.
  • Child support covers expenses for the children and ensures they enjoy a lifestyle similar to the one they previously had.
  • It usually ends when the child turns 18 but can extend for longer period of time if a child is disabled.
  • Child support laws vary with each state.
  • No tax implications are involved for either spouse.
  • Calculators are available online that can help you calculate the amount expected to be paid.