Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support

Child support is one of the most important aspects of consideration with divorce proceedings. A child is legally entitled to financial support from both parents. Additionally, the child’s custodial parent is legally entitled to child support from the other parent after the separation.


Child support is based on the child’s financial need and the current financial status of both parents. Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about child support.


What Does Child Support Cover?


Child support should cover the necessities of the child’s living costs such as food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, and educational expenses.  In most cases, it should also cover a reasonable amount of recreational costs. Luxury expenses and personal desires of the child are not covered by child support. Ultimately, it is intended to provide financial support to cover any aspect of life necessary for a child’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and development.


The court legally orders child support through a contract agreement. In cases where paternity is questioned, a judge may order a paternity test before deciding on child support arrangements.


What Services Does the Court Provide Regarding Child Support?


Child support programs generally provide services such as:


  • Establishment and enactment of child support order after the paternity is confirmed
  • Location of one or both parents to establish support and reach a legal agreement
  • Establishing and enforcing medical support for the children
  • Collection and division of payments


How Is Child Support Calculated?


The amount of child support a parent must pay largely depends on the social, physical, and financial circumstances surrounding the child and the parents. Considerations like a child’s age, physical characteristics, development and growth, and medical needs are also taken into consideration. The court will also consider factors like the parents’ income level, the earning capacity, financial background, and educational background of the parents. If the custodial parent has remarried and is getting support from the new spouse, this is taken into consideration as well.


Is Child Support Required If Custody Is Shared?


In most cases, the court considers shared custody when a child spends at least 35% of his or her time with both parents.  While these circumstances are taken into account when creating the guidelines for a child support agreement, it doesn’t relieve the noncustodial parent of the financial responsibility of child support. In some states, if the parents’ financial status is nearly the same, then neither of the parents is obliged to pay child support if they are sharing custody. Child support agreement terms rely heavily on the laws of your state.


If Your Financial Status Changes, Does Your Child Support Agreement Change Automatically?


The answer is no. Since the court cannot account for any changes in the future, you’ll need to petition the court to change your support agreement if your financial circumstances change. After reviewing your new circumstances, the court will decide if the child support needs to or should be modified.


Contact Johnson Law Firm to Discuss Your Child Support Needs


If you need a Lancaster divorce lawyer with experience handling child support cases, Johnson Law Firm is here to help! Contact us today for a free consultation.

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