So before talking about rights that both sides have considering child support, it is important to address what child support actually is.
It represents a financial obligation, regulated by family law, that parents have to support their child during the maturing process. If a parent lives with a child, it is supposed that obligation is fulfilled, but there are different terms for non-custodial parents.
For example, if the court requires child support from you, you will have to pay a certain amount of money, until your child reaches adulthood age or when the court declares that child is independent.
As of how responsibility is actually determined, it varies from state to state, but in general, a parent who has custody over his/her child is free from paying. If a couple has not been married, factors like whether or not the child actually lived with both parents play a great role in determining the child support payer. In cases of joint custody, it is a little more complicated:
- One factor that can determine who pays more is income. The more income you have, the larger amount for child support you pay.
- The second factor that can affect joint custody is determining which parent spends more time with the child. If a parent spends 70 % of the time with the child, it is supposed that he regularly gives more money, so the parent spending 30 % is going to pay more.
Another question that you might ask is how is payment amount determined, and it is by dependent on parent’s income:
- Wages; Tips; Commissions; Bonuses
- Earnings; Disability Payments; Interest; Benefits;
- Compensation; Annuities; Pensions
An interesting fact about this is that even if parent declares bankruptcy or is in debt, he is still not released from child support obligation. As of the payment sum, it could be changed due to a deal that is made between parents, or for example increased time in custody.
Considering the rights of child, it is important to note what does this support actually cover:
- Basics – All children need food, clothing and a place to live. Considering this some percent of child support payment could be used to purchase groceries, appropriate clothing and to pay rent for example.
- Medical care – So basically children need to be insured, and parent with more income, usually non-custody one, covers this. There are also medical expenses, like surgery costs, glasses or braces, that are not included in insurance, and that need to be financed.
- Education – This includes paying for summer camps, and sports activities, as well as in some instances college expenses. An opportunity for the child to study at a university, should not be dismissed because of divorced parents.
Although these are main things that a child support payment should cover, there are cases of child support abuse, where custody parents use the money to buy things for them, instead of assuring the welfare of the child. Considering this, it might be good to say something about rights, that support payers have:
- Right to visit – A non-custody parent should have right to visit his child unless court forbids it. Although this is a right, many custody parents deny it, and sometimes parents ordered to pay court-ordered child support stop making payments.
- Right to amend rulings – Although a parent paying child support cannot dictate someone’s lifestyle, if there is a suspicion that money is going somewhere else, the paying parent can demand judgments from the court.
I hope that I cleared up some things and that if you currently are one or another party of child support, you understand your rights and responsibilities. For the ones that are not, I recommend you to be a good parent and partner, and you will not ever have to deal with this!