You make far more money than your ex-spouse, but they get custody of the kids five days a week. You mostly see the kids on the weekends, and your ex even gets some of those. You wish you were more involved, but that's what the court order gives you.
As a result, though, the court has ordered you to pay child support. Your ex has to cover a lot of daily costs and works to raise the kids, so you have to pay to offset some of these costs.
It's a complicated situation that keeps you financially involved in your ex's life, which is something you may not love. Here are a few tips that can make it go smoothly:
- Set up a way to pay that you can use repeatedly. Don't use cash. You can write a check if that is easiest, but it can lead to complications, like a check that gets lost in the mail. Your best bet is to set up electronic payments with automated reminders and clear records of all money paid.
- Write up a new budget. Understand that you have to pay this money. You're not "helping out." You're following a court order. Budget for it. Don't even think of that money as income anymore.
- Remember that it's for the kids, not your ex. People often resent making payments because they're not on great terms with their ex. Just remember that the money helps your kids, whom you love dearly, and you won't mind paying.
If the situation gets more complex -- if you need to request a modification due to income changes, for instance -- make sure you fully understand your legal options.