Should We Have to Pay Child Support for a Child with an Income?

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“My husband pays child support in New Hampshire for two boys aged 17 and 14. It is not court ordered; they had shared custody through the courts. When the kids got older they went to live with their mother at their request. My husband and his ex agreed on $125 a week plus we pay for all of their clothes and their cell phones. The 17-year-old joined the Army Reserves and he will go to boot camp this summer, and come back to finish high school next year. Starting now he will get paid $400+ a month. Do you think we should still have to pay child support for a child in the army?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Let’s look at it this way: Let’s say that instead of joining the Army Reserves, the 17-year-old got a job after school at McDonalds. Would you be asking if because he is working at McDonalds after school you should still have to pay child support? No, of course you wouldn’t. The Army Reserves is just another job in this context, and the money that the 17-year-old earns is his money, presumably to do with what he’d like. Child support, on the other hand, is not the child’s money – it is money paid to the parent with whom the child lives in order to help cover the cost of food, shelter, and other necessities for the child.

In most states you are obligated to pay child support until the child turns 18, graduates from high school, or turns 19 without having graduated from high school, whichever occurs first.

Be aware that if the child support guidelines in effect in the state which has jurisdiction of your husband’s case would dictate an amount higher than the $125 per week which he is currently paying, because the current agreement has not been blessed by the court, your husband could be on the hook for the difference between the $125 and what the court would order, should his ex decide to take him back to court.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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