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The Ins and Outs of Child Support


Divorce means change for most people.

Not just change for the ones getting divorced but also, the children too. During this separation, it is imperative to figure out the financial and custodial needs of a child in the new family dynamic. Child support is a way of legally providing finances for the child through payments typically made by the noncustodial parent.

When parents separate, they have the option of reaching a mutual agreement on child support, or one of them will ask the court to make an order for child support. Mutual agreements on child support are sometimes made when a couple opts for a legal separation or online divorce.

Court Mandated Child Support

When parents choose to have the courts mandate child support, the court cannot enforce the other parent’s duty to support the child until they make an order for support. To do that, the court first must determine the child or children’s parentage. If the parents were married when the child was conceived, or the parent’s executed a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage, then the court can skip to the child support issue.

While making an order for support, the court will determine each of the parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs to be based on their financial circumstances. Typically, the court uses a child support guideline formula to determine which parent will pay support and how much it will be.

Sometimes the court may require the paying parent to pay additional support to contribute money towards special expenses for the child. Child care costs or the children’s uninsured health care costs will be divided between the parents by order of the court. Child support payments are to be made until the child turns 18, or 19 depending on if they are still in high school and are unable to support themselves.

When parents divorce, the law declares both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children. It is the right of every child, and this support contributes to the child’s overall well-being and living conditions. Child support is not to be confused with spousal support, it is money for the child’s benefit only. It is not a fee to be paid in exchange for spending time with the children. Whatever the living arrangements may be, the children have the right to receive child support.

Go to this page about online divorce to learn more.