According to Nebraska child support laws, the custodial parent must receive child support payments. If you’re not one, read on to know much you have to pay.
If you’re the parent of a child with whom you do not reside, you are obliged to pay child support. Nebraska child support laws dictate parents share the legal and financial responsibilities of their offspring until those children reach 19.
If you’re divorced or do not live with your child’s other parent, you’re expected to contribute to the child’s basic living expenses. If you fail to make payments, you may face severe financial penalties and incarceration.
If you don’t live with your child and don’t make regular payments to the custodial parent through the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, you should figure out how much you have to pay.
Here are some items to consider if you may owe payments under Nebraska child support laws.
You’re obligated to pay child support if you are the parent of a child and they no longer live with you. You don’t have to have been previously married to the mother or father of your child for you to owe child support.
If you were married to the child’s other parent at the time of conception, the presumption is you are the child’s biological parent.
If you dispute that you are the child’s biological parent and should therefore be exempt from Nebraska child support laws, you must take a DNA test to determine whether you are the child’s parent.
However, being a biological parent isn’t the only determinant of legal and financial responsibility. Courts often rule parents who took care of children for a number of years and took on the role of the presumptive parent do owe child support, even without a biological connection.
Adoptive parents are also responsible for their child’s financial needs.
The amount of child support owed by the non-custodial parent is determined by guidelines established by each state. Nebraska child support laws calculate how much money must be paid by the parent who does not live with the child through his or her income and expenses. The court also considers the income of the custodial parent.
Generally, courts try to give the child the same standard of living he or she might have had if the parents had stayed together. Children are not supposed to suffer drastic changes in circumstances because their parents split up.
In Nebraska, the court looks at the parents’ standard of living before the divorce or separation. It scrutinizes:
- Each parent’s resources, education and assets
- The child’s needs
- Each parent’s ability to pay
Unlike some states, Nebraska does not have an online calculator to figure out exactly how much you owe in child support. If you think you might owe, you should consult with an attorney with experience in Nebraska child support laws.
However, the state does supply a calculator to guide you. Also, you can make some general estimates based on your combined net income and relative obligations.
Each parent is expected to contribute a proportional amount based on their incomes and other factors. Do they stay home with a young baby and are unable to work outside the home? Did they graduate from a top college or are they likely to return to a lucrative career once the child goes to kindergarten?
Child support guidelines also dictate how you should pay for other expenses including health insurance, child care and, where appropriate, tuition.
How much time is spent with the child is another important factor. If a non-custodial parent sees the child twice a week, prepares meals and contributes to entertainment and educational expenses, he or she may pay a lower amount than a parent who sees the child for dinner every second Sunday.
Failure to pay child support exposes you to severe penalties.
If you don’t pay on time or payment is not received, you risk being deemed delinquent the day after payment is due. You may have to appear in court to show why you couldn’t make the payment.
If you don’t pay your child support, you will get served an Order to Show Cause. This asks you to prove why you should not be held in contempt of court. If you do not appear when requested, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
You can go to jail if you’re found to have willfully refused to pay court-ordered child support. You might also be ordered to attend a court-ordered work release program. Here, 90% of your earnings get applied to your delinquent child support debts.
There are some circumstances which may allow for flexibility from the court, including declaring bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 7 may allow you to modify your child support obligations while you get back on your feet.
A Family Law Attorney Can Help You Comply
Because the penalties for disobeying Nebraska child support laws are severe, you should contact an experienced lawyer if you have any concerns.
An attorney with a background in child custody, child support and divorce can help you negotiate with your ex and with the court.
If you’re unable to keep up with your child support payments or if you dispute the amount you’re asked to pay, you can petition the court to modify its order.
It is possible to represent yourself, but it’s always recommended you seek experienced legal representation. If you’re not well-versed in Nebraska child support laws, the risk of appearing on your own behalf is high. Paying for good legal advice is usually worth the investment.
Contact us if you have any questions about how much child support you may owe and how to go about paying it.