Budgeting for child support when making payments

If you're making child support payments every month, it's very important to actually be able to make them. It's a crime not to, and the court will not care if you spent your money on other things and then didn't have enough left to pay. As such, it can be very important to use these budgeting tips:

1. When looking at that money, never think of it as income. It's not money that you have to spend. If you take this viewpoint up front, it's much easier to send out those monthly checks. The rest of your budget can then be created based on what real income you have left over.

2. Set up a payment system. You can send checks, pay online, pay in person, or use other methods. Some smartphone apps can be used to pay. Whatever you choose, it can be helpful to have the same method every month and to pay on the same date. This way, you get used to it and you never accidentally forget a payment.

3. In extreme situations, still try to make partial payments. You may still face penalties, but the worst ones go to those who don't pay at all. Paying a little bit can help, especially if you're trying to get caught up.

4. Remember that court orders can be changed. If something significant happens--you get fired from your job, for example--you need to know how to ask for the order to be modified. Child support is intended to make you use some of your income to raise the child, but this doesn't mean income never changes.

If you do need a support modification in Arizona, don't just make the change yourself; be sure you consult the court and follow the proper legal steps.

Source: Single Parents, "How to Budget for Child Support," Jennifer Wolf, accessed March 30, 2016

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