Using a Joint Bank Account for Child Support Payments

brotherhood-at-sunset-1-1361205-m.jpgWhen people discuss child support, it is often through assumptions and generalizations about how it works, who pays, and how much is paid. However, each state has unique laws dealing with child support, and it is important to know how your state works if the time comes for child support to be addressed. New York passed the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) which outlines and charts the guidelines for child support payments. There is a chart released every year which takes into account the poverty line (as reported by the US Department of Health and Human Services) and allows individuals to calculate the approximate annual child support obligation. There is an option to deviate from the CSSA if using the guidelines would produce an unfair result or the parents agree that an alternative method of child support would be more beneficial to the family.

With all this in mind about the support calculations, the issue then turns to the actual child support payments. Just like people tend to assume sweeping generalities when it comes to how child support is calculated, there are also assumptions about how child support is paid out. Many people focus on the more invasive options like income withholding or liens on bank accounts. However, a recent trend involves the divorced couple setting up a joint bank account for purpose of support payments.

In some cases, parents elect to establish a joint bank account to address the children’s needs. Parents can make an agreement that specifies in detail how the account is to be funded and utilized. The account is then limited by those specifications agreed upon by the parties and memorialized in the agreement solely for the children’s needs. There can also be a joint bank account in addition to traditional child support, for specific purposes depending on the children’s needs. An important thing to remember is that any type of agreement for a joint bank account will be specific and unique to the parents and their situation. The parents can tailor the agreement and type of account so that it works best for them and the children’s needs.

The most visible benefit of using a joint bank account for support purposes is the ability to make the process easier for both parents. If the parents have open communication, a joint account can provide an easier way for support to be made for the children. Like any joint account, a joint account opened for child support purposes would give both parents access to the account. This method can be especially beneficial when there is joint physical custody and both parents are equally providing for the children or when both parents prefer establishing payment of the children’s expenses in this manner. As stated above, in order for the joint bank account method to work, the parents would form an agreement for the specified amounts and stipulations before any account can be opened and deposits are made.

Thumbnail image for piggy-bank---dollar-494499-m.jpgThe method of using a joint bank account for child support is still relatively new, but quickly gaining popularity. Even when searching for tips and advice on using a joint account for the children’s needs in a divorce situation, it is hard to find relevant information as most articles and examples place focus on following the CSSA and setting up a child support account through the court system. Before making any decisions about what method to use, parents should speak to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about the different child support options and determine what would make the most sense for their specific situation and their children’s needs.