Child support (or child maintenance) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the upbringing and care of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Child maintenance is paid directly to the custodial parent (not the child) for the care and support of the children of a relationship that has been terminated.
A parent has the same duty to pay child support irrespective of gender, so a mother is required to pay child support to a father just as a father must pay a mother. Where there is joint custody, the child is considered to have two custodial parents and no non-custodial parents. In this case, a custodial parent with a higher income and/or with less of the expenses of raising and supporting the child may be required to pay the other custodial parent. Either the State courts or a mutually negotiated settlement can determine the amount of the child support obligation.
Child support is often arranged as part of a divorce, marital separation, dissolution of marriage, annulment, determination of parentage, or dissolution of a civil union, and may supplement alimony (spousal support) arrangements.
FAQs on Child Support
Do fathers have the same right to child support as mothers?
Yes, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. If you are a father with custody, you have the right to ask for child support from the mother. Each parent has a duty to support his or her children, and that duty doesn’t discriminate between genders.
How long must a non-custodial parent pay child support?
Generally, a parent is responsible to support their children until they reach adulthood. More specifically, they must support a child until:
- the child reaches the age of 18 (and sometimes longer in special circumstances)
- the child is on active military duty
- the parent’s rights and responsibilities have been terminated (e.g. when a child is adopted is adopted by someone else)
Do I have to pay child support if my ex doesn’t allow me to see my kids?
Yes. Child support and custody/visitation are two separate issues. Every parent has an obligation to support his or her children. If your ex is interfering with your visitation or custodial rights, you may go back to court to have your rights enforced, but you should not miss any child support payments.
Is a father who never married the mother still required to pay child support?
If you are determined to be a child’s parent, you are responsible for supporting the child, regardless of your relationship to the mother. It is your parental relationship to the child that matters. Many unmarried fathers acknowledge paternity by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity at the time of the child’s birth or soon thereafter; some are determined to be parents after a paternity suit is filed and genetic testing establishes parentage. You will also be responsible for supporting the child if you have adopted the child.
Is a step-parent obligated to financially support his or her stepchildren?
No, a step-parent is not obligated to support step-children unless the step-parent legally adopts the children.
Source: 1-2-Law: www.12law.com