Divorce: Child Support

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Family Law & Divorce | 0 comments

Child support is one difficult issue that so many spouses need to settle during the process of divorce. It refers to the financial assistance that the obligor, or non-custodial parent, ought to pay to the obligee for the support of the child. An obligee can be the custodial parent, a court-appointed caregiver, guardian or, in the absence of all these, the state.

In the US, support for a biological child is declared a legal obligation of parents by the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. This Act also enumerates the factors that family courts and judges need to consider when resolving child support issues.

This financial support is intended to cover the child’s basic necessities, like food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. Financial support is usually made only until the 18th year of the child; the court, however, may extend it or add to it, based on the obligor’s capability, payment for the child’s further education, summer camps, dental needs and vacations. (There is no definite federal rule regarding the need to support the child for his/her higher education, though, or the need to continue payment of support once the obligor or non-custodial parent dies.

In determining the obligor’s capability, as well as the amount of the regular financial support, the court considers the following factors: age and needs of the child, cost of the child’s needs, parent’s living expenses and the family’s living standard prior to the divorce, and parents’ capacity to pay child support. This last factor is usually based on parents’ income, which includes salary, commissions, workers’ compensation benefits, dividends, unemployment benefits, bank account, and so forth.

The rules and the different factors considered by the court in reaching a decision regarding child support vary from one state to another. The complexity of the divorce law and the sensitivity of the issue often make it very hard for spouses to establish an objective position, sometimes compromising the child’s best interest in the process. Thus seeking the help of a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer, especially an Ocean County divorce lawyer, would be in the best interest of divorcing spouses.

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