Child support is money given by a parent to the main caregiver of a child in order to assist in providing financial support for the child. In most cases, the primary caregiver of a child is a parent, but it is not necessary for the caregiver to be a parent in order to receive child support. All states mandate that both parents are responsible for providing financial support for children. Child support arrangements are typically determined following the termination of a relationship, but may be determined after a child was born if no relationship existed or at another time depending on the circumstances.
Child Support Arrangements
Child support agreements can be made voluntarily or can be court ordered. When making child support arrangements, courts will factor both parents’ incomes into the situation, as well as living arrangements. In most cases, the parent with whom the child primarily resides will receive child support from the other parent, but this may vary based on income and other factors. If parents share equal custody, the parent that has the highest income will typically be required to pay the parent with lesser income.
Importance of Child Support
Child support plays a vital role in maintaining the well being of children and families, and supplementing or helping to avoid government assistance. In 2008, approximately one million households were raised above the national poverty level following the receipt of child support. Child support may help to provide food, clothing, and shelter for caregivers that may not otherwise be able to provide suitable living arrangements for children. Studies show that child support also correlates strongly to how well children do in school.
Child Support Enforcement
All states in the United States have programs for enforcing the payment of child support. In most states, penalties will be levied for non-payment of ordered child support payments. These penalties may include loss of driver’s license, jail time, and fines. In many cases, penalties are levied automatically when payments are delinquent, court hearing are not required.
Child Support Programs
Child support programs may assist with establishing paternity, locating parents that have become delinquent on child support payments, collecting and disbursing payments, and creating or modifying child support agreements. In recent years, child support programs have revised services to include assistance in finding jobs so that child support payments can be made. Child support programs were being seen as an attack on parents that were having difficulty making payments. Child support programs have begun to revise the services available in order to more closely adhere to the goal of establishing a supportive system for families and children.
Child Support Payment
Child support may be paid in several ways. The most common ways to pay child support include wage garnishment, online, phone, or mail payments. State child support programs can help parents to keep track of when payments are made and how much is owed in order to avoid penalties. Wage garnishment is typically used to procure payments, unless the parent that pays support is self employed or unemployed.
Orlando Child Support Lawyers
Seeking the advice of a child support attorney is recommended when entering into or revising child support agreements. Attorneys that are experienced with family law will best understand the state laws and be able to provide invaluable counseling for parents. Child support agreements may be difficult to modify once put in place, an attorney can help to make sure that concerns are addressed and all parties are comfortable with the agreement before it is approved by the court.
Although child support is supposed to be fair for all parties, it is often perceived that there is a bias in favor of the mother when it comes to child support dealings. An attorney can help to eliminate any bias by providing fair representation and proposing an agreement that is reasonable for all parties. A child support attorney can help to ensure that all facts are heard by the court before a child support agreement is approved.
“Child Support.” FL Dept Rev. Florida Department of Revenue, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 June 2014. <http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/childsupport/>
“Child Support Homepage.” National Conference of State Legislatures. National Conference of State Legislatures, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 June 2014. <http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/child-support-homepage.aspx>
“Services Available from the Child Support Program.” Office of Child Support Enforcement. U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 10 June 2014. <http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/about/services-available>