Photo: MAJ Aaron Haney on Flickr
Child Support Tip
Here's a quick tip about child support I thought I'd share and one I wish I had been advised on when I got divorced. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. There is so much I should have done differently during my divorce.
I guarantee you'll say the same thing a year after your divorce is final. It's precisely because we all say the same thing, that you should listen and learn from those who have been there before you. We've made a lot of mistakes that, if you're smart, you can benefit from.
If I could go back armed with the hard learned knowledge I now possess, there is so much I would change.
Child support is just one of the many things I wish I had understood a lot better.
Looking back, I can't believe I didn't think of this. I can't believe I wasn't advised as to whether I had any options.
I'm not talking about how much child support one pays. There are guidelines governed by the laws in your state which should be followed to determine the amount.
What I am talking about is what is done with the money? You may be confused right now. Isn't it pretty clear by the title? Isn't it what it says, Child Support?
WHERE DOES ALL THAT CHILD SUPPORT MONEY GO?
You'd be surprised. A lot of people hand over a pretty big chunk of change each and every month to someone who gets it tax-free. That's right, the recipient of child support gets the money tax-free. On a related note, the person paying does not get to write it off their taxes.
The recipient of child support (not your kids) can spend the money at their discretion. That's right, there is absolutely no accountability as to how the funds are handled. You have to assume the funds are being used for the benefit of your children.
If you think they aren't, good luck proving it. Unless you can absolutely prove your kids are really suffering as a result of mishandled funds, you'll just have to live with handing over money to a black hole each and every month.
But, I digress. As frustrating as the above may be, it isn't what I'm getting at but it inspires the following.
Everything is negotiable. Remember that. So how about if you negotiate on how a portion of the money will be spent?
HERE'S A THOUGHT FOR THAT CHILD SUPPORT MONEY
What if you both agree that a certain percentage of that monthly income goes towards your children's college savings? I mean that monthly amount is for their benefit, right? You may not be able to control how child support is spent but you would certainly feel better knowing that your divorce agreement stipulates that an agreed amount of that child support automatically goes into a college savings plan each and every month.
You can't control it if they spend the money to get new rims for their car or to get their hair cut and colored, but if you knew that a percentage was being used to help fund your children's future, how much better would you sleep? Both of you!
Like I said, everything is negotiable. Try to work this one into your settlement agreement. I wish I did.
In the end you'll all be happy you did. You, your ex and especially your kids.
Al writes more on the things you've got to know about divorce on Divorce Candor