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What is Child Support?
Parents have a legal (and moral) duty to provide financial support to their children for their living and medical expenses. Generally, this is done through a court order that establishes and sets forth the child support that the parent or both parents must pay on a regular basis. In many states, child support can be set up through the courts or through a Child Support Services agency.
Child support amounts required to be paid for the support and maintenance of the children are set forth in a court order, judgment, decree or stipulated order. The child support is to provide for some or all of the financial support, health insurance coverage and arrearages (past due child support) if applicable.
In all of the states, there are Child Support Guidelines that set forth a standard method of determining the amount of child support. The key factors may include the income of both parents and other factors as determined by state law, such as the percentage of parenting time, extraordinary expenses, etc. Child support laws can be very complex, so getting the help of professionals can very beneficial to protect your rights and ensure that a reasonable and fair amount of child support is determined.
Modify Child Support.
Once child support has been established, the amount child support payments is subject to change. In order to modify child support, either party may petition the court if there has been a change in circumstances. Common events that could justify a motion to modify child support are loss of employment, change in income and/or change in parenting time. It is important to seek a modification of child support as early as possible after the change in circumstances. Otherwise, a child support amount that is not based on the the current relevant factors could lead to an accumulation of arrears and interest if the obligor cannot afford the ordered child support amount.