Child support refers to court-ordered, periodic, and ongoing payments made by a parent to financially support a minor child following the end of a marriage or similar relationship. This parental contribution is paid to provide for a child’s basic living expenses, like food, health care, and education. These payments are paid directly to the primary custodial parent of the child, meaning the person who is responsible for the child by law. In most states, a parent is not obligated to pay child support once the child reaches the age of 18.
Individual state laws determine child support policies such as who is required to pay it, the amount that needs to be paid, and for how long it will be paid. Once child support is court-ordered, it can be changed or revoked only with court approval. The payments are not tax-deductible for the paying party nor included as taxable income for the receiving party.
Generally, parents do not need to be married to file for child support. However, some states require proof of parentage (such as a DNA test).
Each state has its own laws, but there are some typical factors that affect how child support is calculated, including the income of the parents and how much visitation the child has with each parent. Keeping that in mind, there are a
few different formulas used by the court when determining child support:
To summarize, child support is money paid from one parent to the other for the purpose of financially supporting a minor child. Navigating the ins and outs of child support can be complex, so legal representation is recommended while dealing with these issues. A good family lawyer that specializes in child support will advocate for your case and prioritize you and your child’s interests and needs.