Child Support is a court-ordered amount of money a person must pay to support their child. Generally, child support consists of regular, periodic payments made to the parent with primary physical custody of the child. Child support payments are generally provided until a child reaches the age of majority, typically 18 or 21, depending on the particular jurisdiction. In some circumstances, payments may continue until age 23 or 25.
Like other family law decrees, child support determinations are incorporated into child support cases. These cases are usually related to the dissolution of marriage (divorce) or the establishment of paternity (determining whether a given individual is biologically related to a child).
Child support obligations are typically set during the family law case, though they can be altered under some circumstances. In these situations, a child support modification attorney can help.
The court can order a non-custodial parent to provide some financial support to the other parent, even if the non-custodial parent's time with the child is limited or denied. The court can impose support obligations on the non-custodial parent even if the custodial parent wrongfully denies visitation. Even if the non-custodial parent is unwilling or unable to pay a court-ordered amount of support, failing to obey the court's orders can have serious consequences.
During divorce proceedings, the court will consider many things. One of which is the best interest of the child.
If you are a non-custodial parent, you may need to file an order requesting a child support payment with the court. To do so, you must demonstrate that you are actively paying support. Although it may seem straightforward, one should know those specific special procedures are related to filing that kind of request.
Most states do not have specific guidelines or worksheets for calculating child support. The process can be very complicated, and the judge will decide based on their discretion.
The court or state child support agency receives payments, not the other parent directly. If your ex-spouse asks you to make the payment directly to them instead of the agency, you should refuse and insist on using the court or child support agency to handle these transactions.
Amendments of Existing Laws are Specifically Allowed
Child support may be changed whenever there is a material change in the circumstances of either party or the child. It is generally easy to determine what constitutes a material change in circumstances. Child support will have to be adjusted whenever the paying parent experiences a sudden increase or decrease in income or has a change in living circumstances (such as moving or divorcing), or when the child develops a particular interest or has a special issue (such as learning-related problems or a severe medical condition).
Child Support Enforcement is the process in which the state pays and enforces child support.
If a non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support, several enforcement methods are available. First, either parent may take the other parent to court in an attempt to have the support order changed. Another option is to bring the matter to the county or state where the non-paying parent lives.
County-level enforcement is available in every state and usually involves a sheriff or marshal serving legal documents such as subpoenas and wage orders. If the non-paying parent is not located, the state office usually has jurisdiction over the matter.
Finally, parents may hire a private attorney to make a case for support enforcement through the court system. Child support orders are treated like any other civil judgment so that they can be enforced through the courts, government agencies, and a private attorney.
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