When a father wants custody to avoid child support, he needs to understand it doesn’t necessarily mean child support payments will stop custody is awarded. While parents try to do their best to support their children, the reality is that child support may become unbearable. Courts create child support payments without posing a burden on the monthly budget. Yet, some parents (especially dads) find it extremely difficult to handle.
It is undoubtedly difficult to make your monthly payments while trying to pay your fees and care for yourself, especially if you have more than one child. Therefore, those parents who try to get out of child support do not necessarily stop caring for their children. Still, they are just trying to find a way to keep them moving.
Let’s look at how the law treats situations when a father wants to gain full custody, why a father might file for custody to avoid child support payments, gaining full custody of a child, and how to stop child support payments.
How Does the Law Treat Child Custody?
Courts will always rule in favor of the child. The family court system is made of skilled professionals trained to detect when a father seeking custody is simply doing to avoid paying support payments.
While sharing the child equally with the mother, the court may not absolve the father of all responsibility. However, suppose a father was to receive full custody of the child. In that case, the court may order that the father no longer be responsible for payments. This is highly circumstantial and unlikely. The court would need a valid reason and solid proof to remove primary care from the mother to the father.
Situations like these often include neglect and abuse, and the concerned must prove it in family court. The father would have to make the court deem that the mother is unfit. Often requirements like medical records, school reports, or photographic evidence would be enough to convince a court that a parent is fit or unfit.
Why Do Courts Prefer Joint Custody?
Child support payments can be a huge financial responsibility for a recently separated parent. It is understandable why a father might seek sole custody to avoid payment. Both custodial and non-custodial parents must know the rules of child custody and child support agreements.
Courts usually prefer to award parents joint custody rather than full custody to one parent. In a joint custody agreement, two parents share the legal and financial responsibility of a child. When a parent has sole or full custody, one parent assumes the majority of responsibility for a child.
When a father wants custody of a child, the father must present valid reasons to prove why the court should award him custody. Suppose the reason for wanting full custody is to avoid child support payment. In that case, the father should seek other methods to get reduced or absolved payments.
There are ways to avoid child support payments legally; however, it is best to go through the appropriate channels. The father can request to reduce support because of financial struggle or request termination based on the mother’s unauthorized use of funds.
Avoid Child Support
Avoiding child support holds hefty fines in the U.S. if a father attempts to avoid child support by filing sole custody.
Here are some essential things to consider for a parent who suspects a father is filing for these reasons:
- Make sure to keep evidence of the duties you perform: documenting your child’s daily routine, medical records, club attendances, etc. Make sure a judge can see your involvement in your child’s everyday life.
- Make sure to keep evidence of the other parent’s negligence: The best way to gain sole custody is by proving the other parent is unfit. Documenting phone conversations and emails detailing a parent’s absence from important events will help your case.
- Community support: have family members and other adults who interact with your child corroborate your story.
- Expect a change in the parental agreement: For most cases, a judge won’t give sole custody to a father unless he proves that the mother is unfit. However, the court might grant the father joint custody or permit more time with his child.
- Hiring an attorney: to protect your child from a bogus custodial arrangement, talk to an attorney about your co-parent’s unreasonable motivations for your child custody case.
To stop child support, there are numerous routes a father can go through. They can seek to stop payments through the court. Child support payments may also end on a specific date that the court decides during a separate family support case or a divorce.
The court may also terminate support if the child turns eighteen. Once the court recognizes the child as an adult, the father has the right to suggest that support payments are no longer necessary.
Other instances where the court might end child support include if the child chooses to marry, joins the military, gets adopted, or is emancipated (i,e. free from parental care). In all cases, you must inform the court about any changes in circumstance.
The worst thing a father can do is avoid payments without court permission. Often a father will hide or lie about income to avoid hefty child support payments. If a parent attempts to hide funds from a court, a judge can hold them in contempt of court. This is the best way possible to make a judge angry. If both parties already have an agreement in place, and the court finds out about hidden funds, the father can owe back-pay child support with an interest of 10%.
Making payments by methods the court hasn’t approved of is also a common mistake. Many states use wage garnishment, where it subtracts the funds from the father’s pay. This ensures that the father makes all his payments on time. It is best to always report income changes to the court as well. Failure to do so could give a judge reason to hold a parent in contempt.
How does Sole Custody Allow a Parent to Avoid Payments?
The only circumstance where a parent can avoid child support payments is when the court awards them full custody. However, gaining sole custody does not indicate that the court will suddenly reduce all payments. There are many cases where child support remains intact in school fees, medical bills, food, and extracurricular activities.
Factors that can influence how much child support is due. It includes how much time the parent is around the child, the amount and age of all children, the school and childcare fees, and any other fees necessary to maintain the home. In a situation wherein the child custody agreement, parents were awarded equal time, the co-parent with the most income can claim the child.
Why may child support Payments stop?
There are some instances where a family court will rule that child support payments are no longer necessary.
- If the co-parents resume their relationship, there is no reason for child support payments as the family will bear dual responsibility if parents continue their relationship. When this occurs the parent, who filed for child support should return to court and request permission to cease child support payments.
- If the co-parent who was previously receiving child support payments has a change in financial stability: If the co-parent has run into some cash or got a job with a higher paying salary, the father could opt for reduced or even the halt of child support payments.
- If the parent is paying the child support experiences financial struggle: If a parent displays financial struggle, the other parent ordering the child support can voluntarily stop child support payments in favor of the other parent.
Many parents would opt to stop payments because of what the other parent is using the money for. Suppose the father has suspicion that the mother is not making proper use of the funds he pays for child support. In that case, he should consult an attorney who must bring it to the court’s attention.
Often, when a father suspects the mother of pocketing the funds, he seeks other ways to avoid payment. Responsibility for child support payments falls on both the giver and the receiver.
- Fathers trying to get custody of a child should be aware of the initial child custody agreements’ rules. Gaining full custody is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly by any parent.
- When filing for custody to avoid child support payments, a father should understand that family court is well equipped to determine each parent’s motives and always rule in favor of what is best for the child.
- To gain full custody of a child, a parent should produce evidence of why they are fit to assume the sole responsibility. Ways to do this include documenting medical records, school reports, and family and friends’ support.
- Suppose a parent suspects that a father is filing to avoid support payments. In that case, they should immediately consult an attorney and possibly even file for sole custody themselves. The best way to win points like these is to get ahead of them.
A parent can avoid child support payments in ways that do not break the law. It is essential, before trying, to research state laws and consult an attorney. The best option is when both parents can come to a stable agreement on supporting the child.
State laws vary when it comes to child support cases, and avoiding child support carries heavy penalties in most states.