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November 13, 2017
Child support: Understanding the basics

Child support is a frequent component of many divorces. With nearly half of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, and nearly one-fourth of all children born to parents who are unmarried, many parents will have to deal with child support at some point or another.

The legal process regarding child support varies case by case. For some families it can be simple, amicable and easy; for others, complicated, contentious and difficult. There are a few basic principles to child support that you should know in order to understand it. This post will go over some of the most important points, such as:

Who has the right to child support?

Child support is not meant for parents—rather, it is the right of the child. A child has the right to child support payments in order to provide for his or her healthy upbringing.

What is a child support order?

A family court can issue a child support order, which designates the amount of child support required from a parent. This amount can be affected by the parent’s income, the number of children and the custody arrangement.

What is the state’s role in child support?

The agreement for child support was once left to the parents to decide. Now, however, the government sometimes steps in to ensure a fair arrangement for the parents and child. Frequently, this means that the court will intervene to ensure that the non-custodial parent is making timely and complete child support payments.

How does the court enforce an order?

If the non-custodial parent does not promptly pay the full amount of child support, the state can withhold support funds from paychecks or tax refunds, or even seize property and real estate.

What about paternity?

The first step in cases regarding unmarried parents is often to establish paternity. If the father will not voluntarily take the test, a court order could require him to take a DNA test.

What about moving to a new state?

Moving to a different state does not negate the need for child support: The family courts of another state can still enforce child support orders from other states.

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