Under Rhode Island law, divorcing spouses have a duty to support any children they have together. The parent that lives with the child (custodial parent) is expected to give financial and emotional support directly. Since the non-custodial parent spends less time with the child, the law addresses the financial responsibilities to the child through regular child support payments.
Understanding Child Support in Rhode Island
The amount of child support a parent may be ordered to pay will depend on a number of factors, including income level, debt, and additional support obligations. Once the amount has been determined, the non-custodial parent is required to continue making payments in adherence with the law.
Here is a brief look at Rhode Island statutes with regard to child support:
- Payment method. Child support payments are usually made through wage withholding—an automatic deduction from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. If this is not possible, the parent can make payments to the Family Court. Child support payments cannot be given directly to the child or the custodial parent.
- Length of payment period. In most cases, child support obligations end when a child reaches the age of 18 or when the child graduates from high school. However, payments do not stop automatically on the child’s birthday. The parent must file a motion to terminate child support with the Rhode Island Family Court. Courts typically cannot order a non-custodial parent to provide child support beyond a child’s 19th birthday unless the child has a severe impairment and continues to live with the custodial parent.
- Modifying payments. The court allows parents to make changes to a child support order if they have experienced a significant change in circumstances. If a parent loses his job and cannot make payments, he cannot simply stop payments—he must petition the court to adjust the payment amount.
If you are unsure how much child support you should be paying, Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you understand your parental obligations. Simply fill out our online contact form today to set up your initial consultation.