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Alternate ways to pay your child support

You can't just swap out court-ordered child support for things of equal value, which is what some people ordered to pay support want to do. If it's questionable whether your support payments are actually going to support your children, you might want to pay for school activities, medical bills or buy clothing directly instead of handing over money to your ex. If you're ordered to pay child support, you can't take it upon yourself to pay in new jeans and tennis shoes. However, if you are worried about this becoming an issue, you might be able to address it during legal negotiations.

During a divorce or other child support negotiation with your ex, consider offering up creative solutions that let you support your children while ensuring the money is going to them. You might agree to be fully responsible for medical bills and health care insurance, pay child care facilities directly or contribute to college savings accounts for each child consistently.

Do understand that there's a difference between court ordered child support, which is often determined based on calculations mandated by the state, and support agreements that are settled outside of the court between two people, If you agree to a hybrid support arrangement where you pay some expenses directly, you might want to ensure your agreement is contingent upon no court ordered support going into effect -- otherwise, you might end up paying twice.

Even if you do settle support matters out of court, the legalities can be complex. Having a lawyer look over any agreement to ensure your interests are protected can be a good idea. You want to ensure you are able to support your kids as agreed, and if you don't look at the details, you might find yourself unable to do so.

Source: The Week, "8 financial tips for men getting a divorce," Hayley Krischer, accessed Oct. 28, 2016

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