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What is Child Support and the Reasons to File for It

By February 25, 2016 - 6:42am

Whether a couple is divorced, separated or had a child together, there is an inevitable question that will arise – what is child support? Taking care of a child requires money to cover necessary expenses. Learn more about child support and the reasons why it is important to file for it.

Basics About Child Support

Child support is the parent's financial obligation to support a child as he or she grows up. The custodial parent is assumed to be fulfilling the financial obligations related to raising a child. However, the parent who does not have primary custody of the child might be required to pay child support. Various factors influence the amount of child support a parent is required to pay. It is based on the income of the parents as well as the time each parent had custody of the child. The court typically uses an income calculator to help determine the amount of child support to be paid.

It Costs Money to Raise a Child

Raising a child can be costly when you consider the price of housing, food, clothing, education, medical care, and other necessities. Child support is meant to help cover these necessary expenses. Each child has a right to have his or her needs met. Often these costs exceed the income of one custodial parent, but this is not always the case. If the other parent is not paying child support, the custodial parent can go to court to get an order that compels child support payments. The court will also consider the financial resources of the custodial parent to make a fair decision for everyone involved.

Children Have the Right to a Good Life

In some instances, two people who are not married have a child. In others, the parents get separated or divorced. Either way, the child has a right to a good life. This means child support should be paid to help ensure the child has everything he or she needs. Sometimes it helps a child continue to live the lifestyle he or she has become accustomed to. In other instances, the custodial parent works part-time or stays home to take care of the children and need to have support payments to take care of the child's basic needs. There are also instances when certain children have special needs which require additional financial assistance.

Filing for Child Support

Making a private agreement is not the same as legally filing for child support. It important to consult with a family law attorney to determine your rights. Once the child support agreement is established, it can only be changed by taking legal action. Reasons to change child support payments may include an emergency, financial difficulties, or other issues that could have an impact on the amount of child support to be paid.

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