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Give me a break: Child Support in the Summer

Everything seems to get better during the summer months. The weather brightens, temperatures increase, and an entire day can be spent lounging around the pool. For divorced people summer may be an especially happy time because it often brings increased opportunities for visitation with one’s children. Children can visit more freely during the summer because their days are not rigidly structured around the school. This flexibility often results in longer visitation time for the parent who ordinarily sees the children less. This parent could, for example, have the chance to spend a period as long as two months with their children during the summer.

More visitation time is certainly a positive thing, but parents should be aware that it may also bring economic costs. In most cases, child support payments continue, even when a parent is spending long periods of time with their child than usual. There is no break or reduction in payments because child support is designed to follow a standard, predictable rhythm. Each month a set amount of money will be due, regardless of that particular month’s events. Courts prefer to keep payments on a regular schedule so that parents can plan for making and receiving payments. Being able to turn child support “on” or “off” during the summer is thus frowned upon by judges because it would eliminate the predictability of payment. Parents who wish to adjust child support during extended visits with their children are not entirely out of luck, though. It may still be possible to suspend child support temporarily if an agreement can be reached in writing between the parents and submitted to the court. This scenario is more difficult but it stands as an option for parents who do not wish to pay double child support when their children stay for the summer.