Child support is money paid from one parent to another to help pay for the cost of raising the child. It is the child’s right and each parent’s legal responsibility. The objective is to ensure that a child can benefit from the financial means of both parents.
Typically, if the child lives with one parent 60% of the time or more, the other parent will be required to pay monthly expenses. Monthly expenses pay for the cost of food, shelter, and other basic needs. The amount to be paid is based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children entitled to support. The Federal Child Support Guidelines offers an online calculator to give you a starting point when calculating monthly expenses.
The online calculator is a starting point, and the amount actually determined for monthly expenses may be different. Different parenting arrangements affect how much should be paid. For example, if a child lives with both parents at last 40% of the time, or if the parents have split custody of multiple children, the Court will consider the incomes of both parents when calculating child support. The amount might also be different if a paying parent has an annual income over $150,000.
Special expenses could be ordered by the Court on top of regular monthly expenses. Special expenses could include costs such as childcare, dental care, and extracurricular activities. These expenses are divided between both parents in proportion with their respective incomes.
If a paying parent fails or refuses to make payments, the child support obligation can be enforced in various ways. If circumstances change and the child support amount should be increased or decreased, the parents can work to come to a new agreement on the amount. If parents are unable to agree, a variation application can be filed with the Court to change the amount.
Issues arise if parents disagree on how child support should be calculated, what the parenting arrangements should be, or if one parent is unable or refuses to pay their child support. At Jiwa Law Corporation, our family lawyers are highly experienced and can guide you through the calculations, obtain financial information from the other parent, and fight for your child’s best interests both in and out of the courtroom.