How Does Child Support Work?

How Does Child Support Work?

How does child support work? I have seen this question of how child support works on several occasions, and I thought that maybe I could write one or two things about it. There was one that even surprised me of someone asking, “what is child support?”

There are some financial implications when it comes to child support; hence I think it is relevant to this blog.

The problem with the people asking “how does child support work” is that they are not specific with the region of interest.

How child support works is sometimes varying depending on the jurisdiction involved.

As a result, I will write about how child support works from a general perspective.

Child Support Allocations

What is Child Support?

Before I dwell on how does child support works, let’s first understand what it is all about.

This is the financial responsibility you pay to support your child as he or she grows. 

In case you have your child’s custody, the courts assume that you fulfill your child’s financial obligation. 

In case you do not live with your child, you may be required by the courts to pay child support to the child’s custodial parent.

Should you be required to pay child support by the court, you will be expected to make payments until when your child is in active military duty, the court declares your child emancipated or your child gets to adult age. 

If your child happens to have special needs, you could pay child support beyond childhood.

The court can dismiss your parental rights and financial responsibilities for the child when both you and the other parent decide and agree that you do not need to provide any support. 

This could also happen if you allow another person to adopt your child.

Child Support Eligibility

Child support is planned in families when there are the following situations:

a). Someone who is not the child’s parent lives with and takes care of the child.

b). Parents live separately, and one parent takes care of the child full-time.

c). The child’s parents live separately and share the care of the child.

A child is eligible for child support when he/she is under 18 years or 18 years old and still in school.

Who Has the Responsibility to Pay Child Support?

 All parents are legally responsible for their children as per their capability.

The parent who has child custody normally has the majority of the day-today needs of raising a child and could be entitled to receive child support from the other parent.

This right to receive child support may remain that way even when the custodial parent marries or moves in with someone else.

The child support amount is normally set as per the Child Support Guidelines.

In some cases, not only one parent has the duty to pay child support as more than one parent can be required to do so.

In an example, when the custodial parent separates from their marriage or common-law partner who happens not to be the child’s biological parent, both the child’s other birth parent as well as the step-parent could be legally required to pay child support.

A child’s biological father has a legal duty to financially support his child even though he has never been married to, or moved in with, the child’s mother.

This applies even if he did not have an ongoing relationship with the child’s mother.

Should a man deny that he is the biological father of a child, the court could order that he carries out a DNA test to determine if or not he is the child’s father.

How Child Support Payment Amounts Are Determined

A parent’s income as well as the exact time each parent has physical custody of the child are among the main factors considered by the court in determining the amounts of child support payments.

As identified by the court, the income may include:

  • Self-employment pays
  • Wages
  • Government or Private Retirement benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Disability payments
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • Annuities
  • Tips
  • Interest
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Commissions
  • Pensions

Are you now beginning to get answers to the question of how does child support work?

Other Factors that Affect Child Support Allocations and Payments

As I pointed earlier, child support might vary depending on the jurisdiction involved. 

While you get ready for child support hearings, it would help if you familiarize yourself with the legal process within your jurisdiction, as it gives you an insight of what to expect.

As soon as the court determines a child’s custody, and goes through your case circumstances, it sets the child support payments amount as per various factors, which include the following:

1. A Child’s Specific Needs 

In certain cases, a child may have special needs. 

When a child has physical needs because of a disability or has a mental incapacity or a learning disorder, the judge considers that when deciding the child support payments.

2. Income of the Parent Making the Payments 

When a parent earns more, he must provide more in child support. 

Many courts take into consideration financial hardship and recognize that you need to provide for your needs as you provide for your child.

3. Financial Resources Belonging to the Custodial Parent 

Other than taking into consideration the child’s needs as well as the finances of the non-custodial parent, the court also looks into account the resources available to the custodial parent. 

In case the custodial parent has a reliable income and a high personal net worth, the non-custodial parent may not be required to pay a lot in child support. 

It is possible that the court also considers the custodial parent’s support system, such as family members who are willing to assist.

4. The Quality of Life the Child was Experiencing Before 

The court reviews the family’s living conditions before the separation. 

Had there been a high living standard before, the parent paying child support may be required to assist the child to maintain the same living standard.

5. Expenses That Come with Raising the Child 

The court also takes into consideration the expenses that come with raising the child in a certain location. 

If you reside in a city where the cost of living is high, the expenses of raising a child could be high than those of one in a rural area, which is lower-cost. 

Moreover, the court may take into account products and experiences related to specific socioeconomic status. 

The court considers the costs of a location’s basic needs for the child.

What Happens When You Don’t Pay Child Support?

It is through the court that the amount of child support and the payment schedule is set. When you refuse to pay child support as required, the following are among the consequences you could face:

  • Arrest and jail term
  • business license suspension
  • Tax refund interception
  • driver’s license suspension
  • Seizing of property 
  • Wage garnishment

In case you are unable to pay child support due to unavoidable circumstances, it is very important that you let the court know immediately.

This helps to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. 

Be open and sincere about your predicaments.

Read: How to Make 100k a Year Without a College Degree

how does child support work

How Long Does Child Support Last?

The law generally requires a person paying child support to make the payments until any of the following apply:

  • Your child is declared emancipated by a court. This means that the child is declared an adult before their adult age because of their ability to be self-supporting.
  • The child is an adult, unless the child has special needs.
  • Your parental rights are dismissed through adoption or any other legal process.
  • The child becomes active-duty military.

By now, I can assume your question of how does child support work has been answered. To understand how child support works better, try to search in regard to a specific jurisdiction. 

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