According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 13.7 million single parents in the United States. However, 25.9 percent of those who are expected to receive child support have not received payment from the noncustodial parents. Meanwhile, among those who received payment, only 45.6 percent have received full payment. These statistics give a snapshot of the current situation experienced by single-parent families. Here, we list some essential things about child support that can help you better understand the topic.
About Child Support
Naturally, the law mandates that parents financially support their dependent children. In a typical household, parents live together and support their children. In instances of separation or divorce, one parent receives custody of the child. This means that the child lives with that parent most of the time. The parent is then responsible for the child’s ordinary expenses and everyday care. Meanwhile, the other parent needs to help with other expenses through child support.
When Does It End
All dependent children receive child support. These are children below 18 years old and those still pursuing full-time education. However, there are instances when child support ends even if the child is under 18 years of age. This happens when the child has married. It can also be due to the voluntary withdrawal of the child from parental control when he/she reaches the age of 16. A judge determines the amount of child support for children above 18 years old. The judge’s decision will take into consideration other income or earnings received by the child from other sources.
When to Apply
The court will only make an order for child support and custody when one parent has moved out of the house. Typically, parents apply for child support after separation or as early as the beginning process of divorce. It is advisable to apply for child support and custody at the same time and at the earliest time possible. This will prevent possible complications in the future. You can get help with child support in Los Angeles by coordinating with law firms.
How is It Paid
Usually, parents use the Child Support Guidelines to come up with a support agreement by themselves. It gives them an idea of the amount of financial support the judge will most likely order. The paying parent must give complete and true information regarding his/her income. One lawyer will have to write the agreement while a different one checks it. In this way, both parents ensure that their rights and their children’s rights are protected before they sign the agreement. In other cases, wherein the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court becomes involved.
When Child Support is Unpaid
The law first and foremost prioritizes the child’s best interests. It believes that the child must have a good relationship with both parents. Thus, even if child support is unpaid, the parent with custody cannot prevent the child from seeing his/ her other parent. The custodial “access” to one’s child cannot be removed due to non-payment. However, government offices can enforce different methods to collect child support from the parent.