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Consider this before you leave a child with relatives for a while

Every so often, a divorcing couple may not be able to emotionally or physically care for their child for a while, so the child ends up in the custody of an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

Often, it's even a voluntary situation—a parent might ask a relative to take care of their child for a little while so that the parent can get back on a more secure emotional or physical footing following the divorce.

If you're in that situation, there are some things that you need to keep in mind so that you don't have the wrong expectations and end up unpleasantly surprised.

1. If you're the parent who had primary or full custody of the child prior to this point, you may be used to receiving child support. That child support will stop and you would be required to repay any that you received after the child was no longer in your care.

2. Not only will the child support you were receiving stop, you will likely be required to pay support to the third party who has your child. When child support is calculated, a certain percentage of your income is considered in that calculation as your share of the child's expenses. You now owe that share to the child's custodian as long as your child is in his or her care.

3. If you are the non-custodial parent and the child is placed with a third party instead of you, your obligation for support doesn't stop. You have to pay the third party instead.

4. The income of the third party is not factored into any child support obligations. Even if your child is living with someone who is financially well-off and quite able to afford the child's care, you will not be relieved of support obligations.

Before you voluntarily allow your child to live with relatives or another third party, it's important to consider all of the ramification, financial and otherwise. Child support is only one of the issues that can be affected. Consider talking to a family law attorney for advice before you take this step.

Source: FindLaw, "Tennessee Child Support Guidelines," accessed Feb. 24, 2017

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