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What You Need to Know About Child Support

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Father Hugging Son With Daisy Before School.
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Child support is a topic which tends to polarize all parties involved. Although in some situations, mothers pay child support to custodial fathers, in the vast majority of cases, mothers are the custodial parents and non-custodial fathers pay child support. So, how does the child support system work, and what does a father need to know in order to manage his obligations?

Q. How long does child support last?
A: Generally, the law requires a parent paying child support to make those payments until (1) your child is no longer a minor, unless the child has special needs...read more.

Q. How does a custody decision in a divorce affect child support?
A. Both parents have responsibility to support their children financially. When a divorce occurs and one parent has physical custody of the children, that parent's responsibility is fulfilled by being the custodial parent....read more.

Q. If you were never married to the child's mother, do you still have to pay child support?
A. Yes. The obligation to support a child is not conditioned by marriage. If you are a parent, you have responsibility to financially support your offspring. Your parental responsibilities can be legally determined either through...read more.

Q. Is a stepfather legally required to financially support the children of the woman he married?
A. No. However, if he legally adopts the children and thus terminates the parental rights of the biological father...read more.

Q. How is the amount of child support determined?
A. Each state in the United States is required by federal law to establish guidelines that are used to calculate child support due from parents based largely on their income and expenses. Because states have a fair amount of discretion in setting these guidelines, child support payments required vary widely...read more.

Q. What if I am currently earning less than I might otherwise earn? Does my ability to earn enter into the calculations even if I am underemployed or returning to school?
A. That depends on the judge and the circumstances. But generally, a child support payment would not be reduced if a father quit a full-time job and returned to school....read more.

Q. What happens if I don't make my child support payments as ordered?
A. This is called big trouble. The court order defines the amount and payment schedule. Failing to meet the schedule is seen as defying an order of the court and could land you in jail...read more.

Q. My children's mother is refusing to pay court-ordered support. What are my options?
A. Federal law requires the state or district attorney to help you collect delinquent child support payments....read more.

A. Circumstances have changed and the current child support payments aren't fair any more. What should I do?
A. Only the court can change a mandated child support payment, so any modification would have to be submitted to a judge. If both spouses agree on a change, it is usually a pretty simple process....read more.

Q. If my ex-spouse doesn't honor our custody or visitation orders, can I withhold my child support payments until she does?
A. This is one of the biggest complaints of non-custodial fathers. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Child support payments and visitation are considered by the law to be totally separate issues.... read more.

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