Child support payments could go up significantly

Some child support payments in Maryland could soon go up – a change that state Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald called “long overdue.”

For the first time in two decades, lawmakers are poised to revise the guidelines that courts use to set child support when divorcing or unmarried parents cannot agree on an amount. Those guidelines are based on household expense data from the 1970s, and although they accommodate rising incomes, advocates say they don’t account for the escalating costs of raising a child.

Human Resources officials estimate there are about 500,000 child support orders in Maryland – a mix of private agreements and court cases.

Written by Julie Bykowicz. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Child Support: Tennessee Man Lives Out Of His Car To Make Payments

On Wednesday, Memphis’ Action News 5 profiled “Billy” (not his real name), a man who says he’s living out of his Buick in order to make his child support payments.

Billy reportedly owes $14,000 to a woman he fathered a child with 16 years ago. In order to make ends meet, he told Action News 5 that he had to decide between his car and his home.

“I’m just overwhelmed with the [child support] bills,” Billy said. “So I made the choice to live in my vehicle, so I can get to and from work.”

Watch the video above for more on Billy’s story. Then, click through the slideshow below for 14 celebrity parents who reportedly had trouble making their child support payments.

Written by Huffington Post. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Child Support and Taxes

Will the fiscal cliff changes affect your child support payments? As divorce mediators, we can tell you – the short answer is probably, but not quite yet. And having a clear support agreement in place will minimize any potential problems.

You may have already seen changes to your take home pay. Currently, Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to $113,700, with employers paying half and workers paying the other half. So your maximum share in 2013 is $7,049. Our government reduced the share paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012. However, this benefit expired on December 31. So, if you are first determining child support using the current child support guideline program, until the new guidelines are released for 2013 (sometime in the spring), the program will underestimate the employee portion of taxes (the old 4.2% instead of the updated 6.2%). Parents can consult with a divorce mediator to help calculate child support for this and any future years. A divorce mediator can help save you time, money and decrease stress when addressing child support, as well as other areas such as issues of parenting (child custody), division of assets and liabilities, and spousal support (alimony).

Written by Randi M. Albert, JD and Michelle Weinberg. To read the full article, click here.

Is This The End of Alimony As We Know It?

For probably as long as it has existed, alimony has been a man vs. woman thing. Men get ordered to pay, women get alimony and men get bitter. But as women have become more economically powerful, the game has changed.

In 2012, a new law came into effect in Massachusetts that abolished permanent alimony and set up a formula for future payments. Some men there had been paying for decades to women to whom they’d only been married very briefly. While Massachusetts is the front runner, several states, especially Florida, are rethinking the way alimony is awarded.

Should men still have to pay alimony when women can now be educated and make (almost) as much as men? What about women who live with another guy but still take alimony? What do women who pay alimony think? And if we abolish alimony, how do older women without job skills get by?

Written by Belinda Luscombe. To read the full article, click here.

Your Finances and Divorce

There are two things in Divorce, money and kids.

The issue is that emotions can play havoc with our ability to make sound financial decisions in divorce. While kids are most couples number one priority, grounded parenting discussions and planning is not likely until the money issues are resolved.

So while, it might seem that parenting should be decided first, this is not the best strategy. Deal with money matters first and put in place a short-term parenting plan, while negotiations are ongoing. Even if this seems counter intuitive — it works much better for a faster, less costly divorce.

Money Matters:

Child support

The Federal Support Guidelines set out specifically what child support will be. This is based on the incomes (usually starting with line 150 of the T1s) and the number of dependent children. Child support will change depending on whether the parents are sharing 50/50 or some other scenario. If parents are sharing 50/50 then the child support paid will be based on the amount payable by the higher income earner minus the amount payable by the lower-income earner. The difference is then payable to the lower-income earner. If parenting is not close to 50/50 then child support is payable on the income of the non-residential parent regardless of whether they are the lower or higher income earner.

There are many tables available online now so that anyone can access these calculations.

The issue with child support and what can cause arguing is the determination of income — especially for self-employed individuals or individuals with other non-T4 income. The other issue that must be determined is the section 7’s or commonly known as extraordinary expenses. These expenses are those that are above and beyond basic child support. These expenses are usually shared pro rata based on incomes and are agreed to in advance unless otherwise decided.

Written by Karen Stewart. To read the full article, click here.

Divorce, debt, and credit

Divorce is the antithesis of the American dream. It’s sad when two people who promised “Till death do us part” go their separate ways, but this is the final result of about 50 percent of all new marriages in America today.

Unfortunately, marriage has become disposable for many people, like everything else in our society.

There are many reasons for divorce. A few are biblical but most are not. Whatever the case, when divorce is spoken of as an option in a relationship, it is often inevitable.

Divorce always causes destruction, because it tears a family apart.

Aside from the emotional trauma of the divorce, the stress of having to deal with debt that was accumulated during the marriage is probably one factor that makes divorce so devastating.

Biblical responsibilities
There are no biblical provisions for the division of debt responsibilities for divorced families.

Because God does not condone the splitting of a marriage, He gives no instructions on how to divide debt. When a couple marries they are “as one” in the eyes of God. As such, their debt is joint debt, not separate.

So, since the Bible is silent on how to handle debt after divorce, the responsibilities are left to the world to decide, which forces many hurt spouses to be thrown before the mercy of secular laws.

Written by Crown Financial Ministries. To read the full article, click here.