Tips for Child Support Receivers

  1. Document every single payment. Keep a calendar showing when and how you received your payment.
  2. Stay ahead of your budget. Oftentimes people who pay support send the payments late. This can wreak havoc with the timely payment of bills. To avoid this, structure your budget so you don’t depend upon that check to arrive in a timely manner.
  3. If you receive the payment by check, negotiate it immediately.
  4. Don’t allow the substitution of other payments for support. For example, if the payer buys something the child needs, they might try to deduct it from your payment. This is not permissible. Along the same lines, don’t ask the payer to buy something for the child and deduct it from the support payment. This might seem easy at the time, but it can lead to confusion and sets a bad precedent.
  5. Don’t ask the children to pick up the support payment, and don’t allow the payer to send the support payments through the children. This places the children in the middle. Find ways to discourage this conduct.
  6. Don’t withhold visitation in retaliation for non payment of support. Family Law requires a person seeking help from the court to have “done right” themselves. Its called “the clean hands doctrine.”
  7. Don’t react angrily if a payment is not received on the exact day it is due. Most courts allow a little time leeway and getting angry only antagonizes the payer and encourages retaliation. Instead, send a gentle request for payment by email or text. If payment is ten day’s late, a letter formally requesting payment might be in order. If that is not successful, consult your lawyer.
  8. Be careful about allowing voluntary reductions of payments. Consult a lawyer before you do.
  9. If you allow your child to spend protracted periods of time with the payer, a court may not enforce your right to support. Before allowing for significant deviations in visitation from the Order, consult your lawyer.
  10. Support can be “modified” where there are substantial changes in circumstances. You should check with a lawyer every couple of years. You should also consult with a lawyer if your child’s needs increase for any reason. If you have information the payer’s income has increased, consult a lawyer.
  11. If either party has moved to another State, check with an attorney about the nature and extent of laws in the new state to see if rights or obligations may have changed.
  12. Don’t discuss support with a child. When a child asks for money or payment for something, don’t respond, “I don’t have the money because your father has not sent his support check yet!” This harms the children.
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