During a divorce, one of the most contentious issues is often custody and child support. Child support is intended to help ensure that whichever parent is caring for the child, the child’s quality of life will be maintained.
Child support is a series of payments designed to help a divorced parent provide the necessary resources for their child. In general, during the divorce, the parent with primary custody will also be awarded child support in order to ensure that the children continue to experience a similar standard of living to the standard that they would have had if the marriage had remained intact.
The cost of child support depends on several factors. The more children that are involved in the divorce, the more the base amount will be. Another very common factor that decides how much child support is owed is the income levels of both parents. If one parent makes vastly more than the other, they may have to pay more in child support in order to maintain the child’s standard of living. Finally, any special needs that the child may have, such as medical expenses or educational needs, can increase the amount of child support owed.
If a parent neglects or refuses to pay child support there are a number of consequences that can follow. First, the court will order the delinquent parent to pay past child support amounts. If that does not work there are a number of actions that the court can take to extract child support payments.
Financially, the government may withhold income tax returns, issue levies on salaries, or refuse to pay retirement benefits. Additionally, the court may order a lien on the delinquent parent’s property or report the failure to pay child support to credit reporting agencies. Finally, delinquent parents may have their passport or driver’s license suspended for failing to pay child support.
There are three major factors in calculating child support amounts: parental income, custody, and child needs. Parental income compares the incomes of both parents. If both parents make equitable amounts in income, child support may not be as drastic. However, if one parent is unemployed, this may result in a larger amount of child support being awarded to them.
The second consideration is custody. Usually, child support is paid to the parent with primary custody. If custody is 50/50, then child support may depend on who makes more money as previously mentioned. In unequal child custody arrangements, child support will be calculated based on how much of the time the primary parent is expected to be paying for the child’s expenses. Finally, child support calculates the child’s needs by considering the child’s standard of living while the parents were married. If the child had private tutors, medical expenses, or an expensive living space, then child support may be increased to ensure that the child lives a similar life to the one led while the marriage was intact.