Child support is an issue that tends to separate all parties involved. Although in some cases, the mother pays child support to custodial fathers, in most cases, mothers are the custodial parents and fathers are responsible for paying child support. So, how does child support work, and what does a parent need to know to understand his or her obligations? A Tacoma Divorce Attorney from Alliance Law Group can assist you in understanding your obligations as a parent during child support legal processes.
Effects of the custody decision
Both the father and mother have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. When a divorce takes place, and one of the parents has the physical responsibility of living with the children, the responsibility of the parent is realized by being the custodial parent. The other parent then makes child support payments that fulfill the financial responsibilities of a non-custodial parent.
If it is joint custody, the sum of child support paid by each parent is usually determined by the court after reflecting on the percentage contribution of each parent to the joint income of the couple and the amount of time each parent stays with the children.
Child support for unmarried parents
The responsibility to support your child is not conditioned on marriage. Every parent has an obligation to support your child financially. Your parental obligation can be legally established through your acknowledging that you are a parent, established through a paternity test, or the fact that you had accepted the child as your own. State laws vary to a certain degree on who a parent is, so if you have doubt on your parentage, you will need to consult with a local family law lawyer.
Is a stepfather financially liable for child support?
Stepfathers are not financially accountable for child support. But if a father legally adopts the offspring, he dismisses the parental rights of the biological dad and becomes legally responsible for their financial support.
How to determine the amount of child support
The federal government requires every state in the US to set guidelines that are utilized to determine child support payable from parents based mostly on their revenues and expenses. Since states have a reasonable amount of preference in establishing these guidelines, child support payments needed vary widely among states, even under similar circumstances.
Since most state judges are given broad discretion in deciding these payments, it is crucial for a non-custodial parent to provide as much truthful information as possible to the court to ensure the payments are fair. A divorce attorney from Alliance Law Group can assist you in gathering the required information and represent you during the entire legal process to ensure you get fair custody.
How long does child support last?
Usually, the law requires the person paying child support to make the payments until:
- The child is no longer a minor – unless the child has special needs.
- The child is declared an adult earlier than normal because of the ability to self-support by the court.
- Your parental rights are terminated through adoption or other legal processes.
- The child becomes an active-duty military.
For more information about the child support process, contact the Alliance Law Group today by calling our offices or through our online appointment form.