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Child Support Laws

Child Support Law

Child Support Laws Background:

Rooted in public policy and family law, child support refers to an ongoing, periodic payment--delivered by a parent--for financial support of a child following the dissolution of marriage or the termination of a relationship. Child support payments are delivered by an obligor to obligee for the financial support and care of children involved in a terminated relationship. Typically, the obligor is a non-custodial parent, while the obligee is a custodial parent, a guardian, a caregiver or the state.

Child support laws vary based on jurisdiction; depending on the region’s laws, a custodial parent may provide child support payments to a non-custodial parent. In most instances, a parent or partner has the same duty to provide child support payments irrespective of sex—a mother is required to provide payments to a father just as a father must pay a mother. The determination of responsibility regarding child support payments is based on several factors, including the salaries, character and custodial responsibility of the individuals. Furthermore, the determination of child support payments is largely based on the jurisdiction’s child support laws. In a joint custody relationship, the child—based on child support laws—is considered to have two custodial parents. In this situation, the custodial parent with the higher income will most likely be required to pay the other parent.

The Theory behind Child Support Laws:

Child support laws are based on the premise that both parents are obliged to financially support their children, even if the child--or children--are not living with both parents. Child support laws refer to the regulations surrounding the determination and the actual delivery of financial support to children. This is an important aspect of child support laws: the laws surrounding child support do not focus on other forms of support, including physical care, spiritual support or emotional support.

When the child lives with both parents, a court will rarely direct the parents as to how to financially support their children. That being said, when the parents are not together, a court will order one parent to provide payment to the other to ensure that the child receives financial care. In these situations, child support laws of the specific area will dictate the amount of support; the dollar amount of support will vary on a case-by-case basis or by a formula that will estimate the amount the parents are responsible for delivering.

The bulk of jurisdictions, child support laws will not require the parents to be married to solidify a child support obligation. Child support laws may require one parent to pay another when one is deemed a non-custodial parent and the other is deemed a custodial parent. In a similar sense, child support may also be required to be paid by one parent to another when both parents are regarded, based on child support laws, as custodial parents who share child-raising responsibilities. In some cases—again depending on child support laws of the particular area—a parent with sole custody of a child may be required to pay child support to the non-custodial parent to support the children while in the care of that parent.

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