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What Is Child Support?

When a marriage ends in divorce, the children go to live with one parent and that person becomes known as the custodial parent because he or she has custody of the children.

It is the responsibility of the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the parent who has primary care of the children. The child support is money that is to be used for the care and support of the child or children from their marriage.

Child support can be used to pay for food, clothes, and the educational needs of the child or children. In some instances, child support can be used to pay for health insurance, health payments and medical bills that are not automatically covered by insurance.

A child support agreement can be reached voluntarily without the intervention of the law or it can be ordered involuntarily by way of an administrative agency or the courts if one parent is not cooperating with the other one.

Child support payments are generally made monthly and they are not usually taxable to the parent who receives them nor are they deductible for the parent who makes the payments.

The idea behind child support is that financially the child should be able to live in the manner he or she was accustomed to before the parents divorced. In theory this works but often in practice it does not. It is meant to be a combined effort between the two parents to provide what is best for the child.

In many instances the divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement about what is financially in the best interest of their child and also what is fair to both of them. And for that reason the courts need to step in to make the final decision. Both parties must then agree to abide by the decision that is made.

Support for a child continues as long as the child is a minor. Legally both parents carry a burden of responsibility for taking care of all of the child’s needs. The legal duties involved in child support are based upon what the child needs in a variety of areas as well as the ability of both parents to provide for those needs.

The courts look at the income of each parent to determine this as well as what assets each person has. From there a decision is made.

Child support is not directly connected with the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent. If a parent moves to a different state, he or she is still financially responsible for his or her child.

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