An annulment is not like a divorce. Divorce officially ends your marriage, but annulment completely erases the union from your record.
Because of this, annulment doesn’t normally involve things like property division or spousal support. If, however, the marriage produced children, child support will almost be a certainty.
Child Support and Responsibility
The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents are responsible for the well-being of their children. Even if the marriage was annulled, the legal obligation of supporting the child remains.
A marriage, even one that has been invalidated, has no bearing on whether a parent should pay child support. Many single parents, even if they never married, pay or receive support for their children.
Support for the Child's Needs
Child support helps provide for a child’s needs. This includes food, clothing, and shelter. The amount of child support depends on the incomes of both parents, and both participate. The custodial parent spends a portion of their income directly on the children, and the other helps out with child support payments.
The idea is to ensure the child's standard of living does not decrease, even after an annulment.
The Best Interest of the Child
The courts always consider the best interests of the child when making child support decisions, not the parents' desires or financial positions. The parent who has custody must also demonstrate their need for child support and how it will be used. The judge also considers the age and health of the child, the parent's income and expenses, as well as any other relevant factors.
Whether you are single, married, divorced, or otherwise, the child’s best interests will always factor into a support decision.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you are going through a marriage annulment and require child support, or you are the parent asked to pay it, you should have legal representation. Seeking legal help protects your rights. An attorney can make sure you receive the rightful amount of child support, but they can also protect the paying parent from an unjust, burdensome ruling.
Follow-Up and Enforcement
When one parent fails to pay child support, regardless of their marital status, the other can seek legal action. A court can impose punishments, forcing the agreement. This includes garnishing the delinquent parent’s wages, seizing their property, or filing a motion to hold them in contempt of court.
If you are the paying parent, and you are finding it difficult to keep up with your payment, you have resources available, too. You can request a review of the original child support order. There may be mistakes in it that make your payments unfair. Moreover, if you’ve experienced a major life change that has impacted your finances, you can request a child support modification.
Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C. can help with any child support matter. You may be the payer or receiver. You could be single or divorced, or you could have gone through with an annulment. Whatever the case, we’re here to help. For more information, you can call us at (516) 514-3868 or contact us online.