The Purpose of Child Support

When parents cannot live together, their children must be cared for properly. If the breakup requires legal action, such as a divorce, the court puts the best interests of the children above all others. In doing so, decisions must be made regarding things like custody, visitation and support. While the entire situation can drum up strong emotions, there are some aspects of the process that may cause more strife. Child support is one of the hottest topics that uncoupling parents need to address during the break. Explore why this financial aspect of a breakup is necessary and what you might expect going through your transition.

The Purpose of Child Support

Two people living together share in the care of their children both financially and physically. If the family can no longer reside in the same home, the court does not believe the children should suffer more upheaval than necessary. Financial support is shared between the parents, even when they live together. Thus, when a couple separates, the children still require financial support. Child support is the calculation of how much the court believes it costs to care for the children just as when the parents were together.

Calculation of Child Support 

There is no universal calculator for child support. Each state may have its own guidelines and methods for arriving at the figure. It typically begins with an amount the court believes it costs to care for the number of children based on the parties’ shared income. Once that number is determined, the court goes about splitting it equitably between the parties. The factors that go into breaking this down include

  • Who the children will reside with primarily
  • The income disparity between the parents
  • The parent who will carry health insurance
  • The cost of daycare

The parent who has the majority of time with the children is typically the recipient of the payments.

Uses for Child Support

Legally, child support is meant to go towards necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. However, every parent knows that children require much more than just these basics to thrive. The recipient of support payments usually does not have to provide receipts demonstrating how that amount is spent monthly. In some cases, there may be rare instances where a court may want the recipient to prove where the money is going. The best practice is to use all of the funds in caring for the children in some way.

Child support laws vary from state to state, so it is always a good idea to ask for help. A child support lawyer, like a family law attorney in Fairfax, VA, may be able to provide you with the information and guidance necessary to ensure your children are well cared for, regardless of living arrangements.

Thank you to the experts at May Law, LLP, for their insight and expertise in family law.