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Online service may help reduce child support disputes

Regardless of how amicable a divorce or separation is, there are times when even the most cooperative parents disagree about a child-related expense. Disputes surrounding monthly child support payments, childcare and other everyday expenses can lead to endless and bitter disputes in courts. However, Michigan parents may find it helpful to know that a new online service called SupportPay may help parents who are feuding over child support payments and other expenses.

SupportPay offers parents a platform to manage the financial expenses that routinely arise when raising a child. Generally, child support is court ordered and the non-custodial parent is required to pay the custodial parent a set monthly payment. Child support is intended to help the custodial parent with basic expenses such as food and shelter for the child. However, in addition to the basic needs of a child, other expenses such as medical expenses and school-related fees also may arise. Typically, it is these expenses that lead to disputes between parents.

According to the CEO of SupportPay, the online service not only offers parents various ways to resolve their disputes, but also helps facilitate payments. Parents who choose to use this service can input their receipts, keep a record of their expenditure for the other parent to see and get balance information, which may help them determine what they owe. Furthermore, in the event a court-ordered payment is late, the system sends a friendly reminder to the parent. Parents can also store child support-related documentation on the service's secure server.

Users who tested the software noted that the non-custodial parent was not aware of all the expenses involved in raising a child and the non-custodial parent feared that child support money was not being used by the custodial parent for the child's needs. SupportPay helps parents maintain a detailed record of everyday expenses, which can be used in court or in mediations when dispute arise.

Presently, a free version of SupportPay that offers some limited features is available to parents, but a full version is available to parents for a small monthly fee. The paid version also offers a mobile phone app.

Source: Xconomy, "Using Tech to De-Stress Child Support," Bernadette Tansey, Nov. 5, 2013

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