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Understanding Child Support Laws and Obligations

Divorce is a very difficult process to go though. Finances and custody are two of the major issues to be settled, and here we will focus on enlightening you on the specifics surrounding child support.

Child support or child maintenance is the legal financial obligation that a parent has to fulfill to care for their child until adulthood. There are cases where parents sometimes need to provide indefinite care for their ward, and an example is in the case of children with special needs. More selective and specific care is needed that usually spans over a long term period well into adulthood.

When parents are separated or divorced, a Judge can decide which parent is awarded custody of the children. The amount of money given in support from one spouse to the other will be based on the financial standing of both parents. Below are a few examples of the factors a Judge may take into consideration.

Unemployment and Disability payments
There are situations where parents come together outside of court with an agreement on a figure for child support. If you choose to do so, it is imperative that it is put in writing and have it signed by the relevant parties (the other parent and witness).

While the interest and intentions within these out-of-court agreements are meant to be amicable and fair, it is also wise to know how much the receiving parent is entitled to. It is a good way to measure the actual amount against what is going to be agreed upon.

There are many guidelines to be considered when deciding or getting an idea of what child support payments should be. Please see for more information.

Another factor to take into consideration is the inevitable changes in income that may occur. A parent can legally make a request in writing once a year to be updated on the financial status of the other parent. The goal of this is to ensure that the payments remain fair, whether there is an increase or a decrease in wages.

Sometimes divorces can be financially and emotionally draining. In many cases it is not amicable as people are usually reacting from a place of hurt and anger. There have been cases where children have been used as pawns and leverage to influence both the receiving and payment of child support. It is very important that child support be paid on time and every month. Whether or not you are in contact with or physically seeing your child, the law demands that you bear your financial responsibility.

There are certain penalties that can be enforced if child support payments are not being paid. A few are listed below.

If you are owed money from the government, for example with income tax returns, it can legally be seized to pay the owing balance (via the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistant Act)
Licenses and passports can be suspended if you have missed more than three payments or if your back child support exceeds three thousand dollars (via the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistant Act)
You may be forced to serve jail-time as well as pay all the court costs associated with the enforcement of the child support order
While this piece attempts to enlighten you on the basic steps to take concerning child support, it is very important that you speak to a professional and experienced family law lawyer like those housed at the Zeidman Offices. Allow us to help you through this period in your life.

Chat with Zeidman Family Law