Child support orders are typically awarded to custodial parents in divorce cases, although they may sometimes be awarded in joint custody arrangements as well. Not all divorcing parents will choose to seek a court-ordered child support arrangement. You can also agree to share costs informally amongst yourselves, or, if income is sufficient, custodial parents may simply choose to burden the financial responsibilities themselves.
The purpose of child support
The purpose of child support is to ensure that each parent contributes their fair share towards the financial cost of raising a child, irrespective of that parent's personal involvement. Child support was originally introduced as a means to help struggling mothers and their kids, who were often relegated to poverty after a divorce.
Rules and regulations regarding child support
Since child support laws are enacted and enforced by states, each state has their own rules and regulations governing child support awards. So not only does each state use its own method for determining the amount of child support owed, but they also have different laws governing whether the state has the power to garnish wages to collect child support, whether parents can make payments directly to the court rather than the other parent, and whether long-arm statutes and other regulations can be applied.
Guidelines used to establish child support
The amount of child support owed is based on a set of universal criteria, which includes factors such as...