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Child support is a payment by one parent (often the noncustodial parent) to the other parent for the support of their common child. (See Child Support and Visitation.) It is in the best interest of a child for both parents to be obligated to pay for the support of their child. An order for child support transfers the income/wealth from one parent to the other so that the combined incomes/wealth of both parents is available to use for the support of the child.
Typically, child support obligations cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Child support obligations might include other types of support as well, such as medical bills or educational expenses for children. This means that even if all of your other debts are discharged in bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for your child support obligations.
Child support payments can be reached by agreement between the parents or by application to court and obtaining a court order.
A court may vary an order or an interim order for maintenance or support in the following situations:
A court can order either parent of a child to pay support to other parent. The court order for support is usually payable on a monthly basis. Many states now require that child support be paid by wage assignment (automatic deductions from the paycheck) whenever available, thus reducing the need for subsequent enforcement actions.
Federal law now requires that the amount of a child support payment be set in accordance with a guideline. Having a guideline is believed to prevent widely different amounts of child support being ordered from courtroom to courtroom. Guidelines provide an objective basis for the determination of the amount of support to be paid. As a result, most states have established formulas that are used to determine the amount of the payment from one parent to the other.
The obligor is the parent that is required to pay the child support to the other parent. The obligee (obliged) is the parent who receives the payment from the other parent.
The formula is based on the respective net incomes of the parents. Federal and state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare tax, health insurance, union dues and other mandatory expenses are subtracted from a parent`s gross income (that is, income from all sources including, but not limited to, wages and investments) to arrive at his/her net income.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified child support lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local child support attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.