Child support is a legal obligation in which one parent is required to financially contribute towards the needs of their child or children after divorce or separation. The purpose of child support is multifaceted but simple to understand.
There are several reasons why both parents are expected to pay for the financial needs of their children. The most important reason, however, is that paying child support legally obligates both parents, the custodial and non-custodial parent, to share the responsibility of bringing up a child, regardless of whether they are living in the same household.
The Purpose of Child Support
Child support is a legal obligation in which one parent is required to financially contribute towards the needs of their child or children after divorce or separation. The purpose of child support is for both parents to share the financial responsibility of raising a child. It gives parents equal obligations towards their children, even if they are no longer living together as a family.
Why Child Support Is Important
When a divorce or separation occurs, two households have to be maintained instead of just one. This is why child support is important–because it helps with the financial needs of a child after a family unit has been broken up.
In most cases, the parent who has the children at least 40% of the time receives child support from their ex-spouse. This is because the law recognizes that the custodial parent will likely need financial support as they take on all of the responsibilities that come with raising a child alone.
In addition to financial support, child support offers other benefits to children who are living with only one parent. It is a consistent, fair amount that guarantees an element of stability for the child when their life has otherwise been turned upside down. Child support helps ensure that the children have a similar standard of living to what they experienced before the divorce or separation. It also enables a child support recipient to stay out of debt and provide their children with a stable financial future.
Child support is taken seriously by the justice system. If a non-custodial parent doesn’t make child support payments as ordered by the court, there are legal consequences. For example, a non-paying parent may have their driver’s license suspended or be sentenced to jail time.
How Child Support Can Be Used
Child support is money that a parent pays to help cover the costs of raising their child after separation or divorce. In most cases, one parent will pay this money to the other on a monthly basis until the child reaches adulthood.
In some cases, however, parents can agree that child support should be used for items such as education and extra-curricular activities rather than everyday expenses.
This means that parents could agree to use child support to pay for a private school or university, and spending money during the school holidays and weekends can be determined by the non-custodial parent.
A place to live, food, clothing, and other essentials are required to keep children healthy and happy. The cost of providing shelter is highest for single parents, who will not only have to house, feed, and clothe their child or children but also pay mortgages/rent, electricity bills, grocery costs etc. This can be an extremely difficult task on one salary, so the purpose of child support is to help cover these impactful expenses.
Medical costs can be expensive, and children are often in need of doctor’s visits for vaccinations and check-ups. This is something that child support can help with; even if the custodial parent has health insurance, there will likely still be co-pays and uncovered expenses that can deplete the custodial parent’s savings quickly.
Education is another important expense for children. Expenses covered by child support can include paying school fees, buying school supplies, and hiring tutors.
Extracurricular activities are a great way for children to have fun, stay active, and get involved in their community. However, they can also be expensive. That’s where child support comes in, as it can help cover the cost of activities such as music lessons, sports teams, and summer camps.
Seek Counsel from a Family Law Attorney
If you and your ex-spouse aren’t able to come to an agreement about how child support should be used, it’s time for you to contact a family law attorney. With Monarch Family Law’s guidance and expertise, we will be able to help you figure out the best way forward.
Get in touch with Monarch Family Law today to learn more about how we can help your family establish fair child support.