Child custody is the legal guardianship of a child under the age of eighteen, and is legally considered a minor. This gives the parent and the child a practical relationship where the right of the child to make decisions, as well as the obligation of the parent to care for the child.
Child support is any court or legally ordered payment mandated by a state or governing body made by a noncustodial divorced parent to support one’s minor child or children, or children one is legally responsible for supporting.
Child support is usually taken from a monthly paycheck should the parent have regular paying employment.
Child Support Calculator
A calculator that can be used to estimate the amount of child support that may be ordered by a court or governing body.
Child Support Payments
Child support is calculated based on a noncustodial parent’s income. Most states typically do a calculation based on the combined parent’s income, and then set aside a percentage of the income for a total to fit the child’s needs. There are some states, such as California, that lessen payments depending on the time that a noncustodial parent spends with the child, along with income. California , like some states, can also add on additional percentages to take care of additional costs like health care, or extracurricular education.
The law takes into account, and assumes, that child support payments are going to pay for the child’s needs, including food, housing, clothing, and other needs as deemed necessary.
Child Support Enforcement
Each state has an agency that exists to enforce payment of child support. It works to establish, enforce or modify child support orders, seek out non-paying parents, and enforces the law when it comes to punitive damages or missed payments. The agencies are operated by state, local or tribal government under the Child Support Enforcement program guidelines.
A “co-parent” is a parent works together with the other parent to raise their child together, even though they are divorced, separated or otherwise living apart.
Co-parents believe that the child has a right, and that the parents have a duty, to continue to live in an environment where both parents maintain a stable relationship. The focus of co-parenting is on the child, their needs, and their rights.
An individual who is under the care of a parent, guardian or caretaker who cannot live on their own. Children who are eligible under the law to receive child support must be considered independents. Barring health or other illness, a child ceases to be an independent when they turn eighteen or reaches the “age of emancipation”.
The legal termination of a marriage or union, and the cancelling or reallocation of legal duties, responsibilities of marriage. Each state has different laws which pertain to the rights, responsibilities, and entitlements after a couple separates. Such obligations may include, but are not limited to, alimony, child support, child custody, distribution of property, child visitation, etc.
The area of law that handles family legal matters and domestic relations, including: marriage, child laws, paternity, adoption, divorce, etc.
Family courts and laws are a separate branch of the judicial system, and often follow different rules and laws. Each state has its own set of unique family laws and courts.
A legal agreement where both parents agree to have legal custody over the child.
The legal establishment of fatherhood for a child, either by a court, administrative review, or tribal custom and/or acknowledgment. Paternity can be established through DNA and other medical tests, or by a voluntary acknowledgment by both parts.
A person or organization in whose name the child support money is paid,
A person, typically a noncustodial parent, who is legally bound to be responsible for paying child support.
An agreement where the child lives with both parents at separate times for a legally determined amount of time. In shared custody, time is split largely evenly.
A legal arrangement where one parent has sole physical and legal custody of the child.
A voluntary agreement by an employee to transfer (or assign) portions of future wage payments to pay child support payments or other debts (such as alimony).