Many people feel that their divorce can't end quickly enough, letting everyone move on with their lives. A divorce can take many months to complete and life goes on in the meantime. A parent may have an immediate need to get child support payments flowing.
Parents in the process of divorcing may not be able to agree on child support terms. A court can issue a temporary order of child support to the parent responsible for the child's care. A temporary order stays in effect until the court enters a permanent support order in the final judgment of divorce.
How Is an Order of Temporary Child Support Determined?
State laws control child support issues, and all allow for temporary child support during the divorce case. In some states this is known as a pendente lite order of support. State laws vary as to how an award is calculated, and may use the same guidelines used for final child support awards. However, there are certain factors that are generally considered, including:
- Parents' incomes and assets
- Number of children and their ages
- Who has custody of the children
- Children's expenses
Temporary child support is meant to cover a child's expenses during the divorce. Common expenses include food, housing, clothing, medical care and education.
Impact of a Temporary Child Support Order
An award of temporary child support has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered by the parents. The advantages include:
- Each parent can plan for the immediate future based on the payments
- The parents get used to the harsh reality of divorce and their finances
- Possible tax benefits if the child support payments are made as a result of a court order rather than voluntarily
On the other hand, a potential disadvantage to a temporary order is that the amount may reappear in the final divorce judgment. The court may consider the amount in the temporary order as adequate and not rethink the determination. State law can vary, and the law in your state may provide that decisions on temporary and final support orders are separate issues.
Your divorce lawyer can best advise you on temporary support issues in your case, and present the facts and finances to back up your request.