Child Support

Going through a divorce can be one of the most emotionally exhausting and taxing experiences a person may have to go through. More times than not, children are involved and significantly impacted by the split of their parents and the changes that follow.

Often one parent is granted custody and becomes the primary care taker of the children involved.  When this happens, there is usually a child support agreement in order to ensure that the child remains comfortable in their living arrangements and retains some sort of stability in their life.  It is important for the child to be kept in the same environment. Typically, the parents are each expected contribute to the finances required for the child’s upbringing. Child support refers solely to the financial support of a child; it does not have anything to do with any other type of support required by the child. 

A child support arrangement is made during the divorce proceedings. The amount of support is determined by several factors, including but not limited to, the number of children requiring support and their ages, salary and occupation, as well as the amount of time the child spends with each parent. However, should custody be granted entirely to one parent and no visitation is allowed to the other, child support still must be paid but the obligor.

How to Obtain Child Support

The first step toward obtaining child support is to file a request at the local courthouse or magistrate.  An individual must file a complaint or application that collects data necessary to begin the process.  After the request has been filed and processed, a summons is issued to the obligor, mandating they attend a court hearing to determine if they are in fact required to pay child support.  Under some circumstances, a paternity test may be ordered if there is any type of paternity dispute to ensure both parties are truly accountable for the responsibility of the financial obligations required.  Once all other obligations have been met, and paternity has been established, if required, the court will order an obligor to present regular payments of an established amount to the obligee for the welfare of the child. This money is not subject to taxation and is provided with the intent of providing necessities for a growing child. The child support money is to be used as the obligee sees fit, but is intended for items for the child such as clothing, medical bills, food, and education.

Amount of Support

The amount of child support an individual is required to pay is based on a collection of data, including income,  ages of children, basic living expenses, school fees and, if necessary, treatments for illnesses or disabilities.  Once all of these items have been taken into account, an amount is calculated and the obligor is required to pay said amount to the obligee for the child’s expenses.  There are a variety of ways child support may be paid, determined by the circumstances. Payment is sometimes made monthly, directly deposited into an account or by check to the obligee, other times payment may be made directly toward an expense for the child, such as tuition. Payment must be remitted as defined by the courts or legal action will be taken to ensure payment is received.  It can be hard to enforce child support payments, but some actions may be taken in attempt to collect back payments, such as wage garnishment or revocation or suspension of a driver’s license, and in some cases incarceration.  Any debt from back support payments must eventually be paid off in full by the obligor to the obligee. Should the circumstances change in a manner that could affect the child support payments, like the loss of a job or decrease in income by either party, a request for review of the arrangement may be submitted to the courts for review. There are multiple factors that may affect the child support payments but any changes to the amounts, either an increase or decrease in amount must be determined by judge, and there is no guarantee that such changes will be made.

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