Many people confuse child support with a form of maintenance, or alimony. Child support is put in place solely to benefit and financially support the child or children in question, not the parent receiving the child support. Child support is the right of the child or children, and only the child or children. Child support is calculated by formulating how much monetary support a child would have had he or she been raised in an intact household, or one where both parents were still married. When calculating child support, the court takes many factors into consideration. Examples being:
- The standard of living the child or children would have experienced had the marriage not ended
- The physical and emotional stability of the child or children
- All financial resources of the child or children
- Financial resources of the custodial parent
- The child or children’s educational needs
- Any financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent
Child support is not meant to cover every little expense that is spent on the child or children. Child support is meant to provide a healthy and stable upbringing for the minors. All additional expenses are supposed to be split between both parents. There are set formulas that the court uses to calculate child support responsibilities, however the court may deviate from the formula when it is deemed fit. Some deviations may include answers to the following points:
- The amount of overnight stays each parent has with the child or children
- Which parent pays for health insurance, taking into consideration what portion of that payment is put toward the child or children
- If there is any income earned by the child
- Any exceptionally large expenses
There is little room for a parent to be excused from paying child support. Even having large credit card bills or debts, high expenses or claiming to not be able to afford to pay child support are not worthy excuses. The only time that a parent or guardian may be excused from a child support payment or payments is when there is an occurrence out of their control, such as a serious or chronic illness or sudden medical expenses.
If the primary custodial parent does not work and they have a child under 30 months of age, the court may attribute unemployed or underemployed income. This is calculated by formulating how much money the non-working parent could potentially be making if they were not caring for their child full-time.
When it comes down to it, time each parent has with the child or children has nothing to do with how much child support is owed. For example, both parents may have the exact same time per year with their children, but only one parent owes a hefty amount of child support. This is because child support is about money and not physical time spent with the child or children.
Can child support be changed?
Yes. An already agreed upon child support may be changed at any time under certain circumstances. For example, if there is a change in physical care. Physical care would be a change of primary home or amount of overnight stays. For example, if a child were to split their time evenly among parents but then decide they only wanted to live with one parent, the parent losing time with the child may motion for a change in child support. It may not always play out the way the parents want, but they are legally allowed to request a modification.
If a child’s mother or father is not allowing the other mother or father to see their child or children, is child support still mandatory?
Yes. People think that visitation and custody has a direct effect on child support. It does not. If a parent is denying the other parent custody, child support is still due. Refusal to allow a parent to have their fair share of custody is an entirely different matter in the court. Even when one parent is not playing by the rules it is important to pay child support on time. If not, there will be an entirely new problem on the table.