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Parents who are separated and/or divorced or never married who cooperate regarding their children should be commended.  Parents working together for the best interests of children is what helps our young people get through difficult situations in their lives.  When cooperation begins to happen regarding child support payments, it is important to keep in mind certain things.  If there is a support order in effect, the support order must be followed.  Even good faith deviations can have potentially significant consequences in the future.  For example, Parent A is ordered to pay Parent B $500 per month for child support.  School fees and soccer registration are due and Parent A pays $250; Parent B says thanks and you only owe me $250 for support this month.  And so the cooperation goes, on and on, for months and years… until according to the Court order, Parent A is now $5000 in arrears to Parent B.  Parent A says “I’m not behind, I’ve been paying $250 per month to soccer and $250 to Parent B per month.”  The Court will not be able to recognize the non-conforming payments (i.e. the payments to soccer); Parent A will be expected to come up with the additional funds; and the cooperation that once existed will deteriorate.  If your cooperation results in deviations to existing child support orders, talk to an attorney about how to get a new support order in effect and minimize your risks of future unintended arrears and maximize the ongoing cooperation for the sake of your children.

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