According to the American legal system, both biological parents are equally liable for providing for a child’s needs and financially contributing to their upbringing. When parents separate, the court issues an order directing the non-custodial parent to financially support the custodial parent for the upbringing of their child or children which is known as child support. Child support litigations can be tightly contested in courts and hiring a family law attorney is beneficial to understanding the complex legal landscape and avoiding being bullied by the other party.
Here are the factors that impact the value and nature of a child support litigation:
Child support laws vary from state to state and there is no federal ruling that dictates how child support is calculated. Irrespective of the region, child support is calculated keeping the best interests of the child or children in mind. However, certain factors that universally impact the amount paid under child support. The factors are:
While child support calculations vary from state to state, there are three basic models that every state across the United States follow –
In most instances, guidelines only focus on the parents’ take-home salaries for the calculation of support. Other expenses such as health insurance and daycare costs may not be considered by the court. However, a parent paying mortgages and credit card bills out of their price range would still be obliged to pay for support.
The duration for paying child support varies subtly from state to state. A rule of thumb that is followed in every state is that a parent can stop paying the support either when their child graduates the high school or reaches the age of 18, whichever comes first. A parent needs to explicitly inform the Office of Child support in case the payment is automatically being deducted from their accounts, otherwise, the deductions can continue well beyond the aforementioned conditions are met. Child support can also continue beyond these conditions if a child has special needs to needs support to pay the fees for college or universities. The continuation of support for colleges and universities is allowed by only certain states while courts make special exceptions for parents who take custody of their child with special needs.
Parents can appeal in court for the modification of a child support order. The parents seeking a modification in the order should have enough evidence to prove that the change is significant enough. Some circumstances considered by courts for modification of child support orders are:
The modifications can be implemented only through a court order even in the case when there is a mutual agreement between both the parents. If it is done without an order, the paying parent is at risk of being sued by the receiving parent for unpaid support.
A parent is legally obliged to pay for child support unless explicitly exempted by a court. Even if a parent is unemployed, they are liable to pay a minimum amount in child support. Non-payment of child support can lead to the following legal actions:
Because states have the authority to exercise power on the obligor party, the chances of the implementation of these orders are high.
Hiring an expert child support attorney can benefit parents in the following ways:
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