The Basics of Child Support

Both parents share the responsibility of taking care of their children. When couples get married and have children, they share this responsibility of sending the children to school and providing everything they need until such time when they are capable of supporting themselves.

But what if the parents separate? This is where child support comes in.

child sIt is when a parent is obliged to pay a certain sum of money to support the child’s needs even if they are not living together. How is the process done?

A parent who will file for child support must go to court or local magistrate to begin the process. The parent should prepare the documents that would clarify his or her identity and that of the child. Legal documents on the marriage and separation should also be prepared.

The other parent will be summoned to appear in court because he or she has been sued for child support. What happens when parenthood is denied, supposing the sued parent is a father?

There are three cases in which a father can deny the paternity:

  1. The marriage does not establish the paternity;
  2. The name of the father does not appear in the child’s legal documents; or
  3. He claims a paternity fraud.

In any case, the paternity can still be proved through a DNA test and if it shows a match, an amendment of the birth certificate will be made, placing the child’s name under the father’s.

After the process, the court will notify the obliged parent of the timely fees that need to be paid. How is the fee calculated?

There is no fixed payment for supporting a child. A lot of factors need to be considered. The parent’s regular income, the child’s living expenses, school fees, and the age and the number of children who need the money are some of the factors taken into account.

The amount to be paid can be changed through a petition in court. It may be lessened if the parent who is paying the fee is facing a financial hardship. This includes losing the source of income, supporting more children, or experiencing higher expenses for extraordinary health conditions. On the other hand, if the child’s expenses suddenly became higher due to a tuition fee raise or an unexpected health problem, the support fee would be higher.

How Is It Paid?

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The obliged parent may directly give the money to the other parent, personally pay the tuition fees, or pay the support through government offices. The support will continue depending on what the state’s law says. Others require this until the child reaches the age of majority while others may require the parent to provide support until the child graduates from high school.

Suffice to say that a child is incapable of supporting himself or herself. This is why every state has laws that help children get what they need. When their parents separate, they are not at fault. This is why rules on supporting them should be strictly followed. Being a parent comes with great responsibility and no one should turn away from that.

How Does a Parent Win Full Custody of a Child?

What happens to the children when their parents separate? Some parents have shared custody of their children while some agree that one parent will have full custody.

Full custody means that the physical custody of the child is given solely to one parent while the other is granted visitation rights under certain conditions. When spouses divorce, they usually fight over the custody of their child or children in court. What happens during the process? How is one granted full custody of a child? There are certain standards a parent has to meet.

The first basis is demeanor in court. The parent has to show that he or she is fit for sole custody. Outburst of emotions is a common scenario in the courtroom but one has to stay calm and well-mannered while the trial is going on. How does the parent react to stress and anger? This is an important question to be answered. If one shows that he or she cannot manage his or her emotions well, that parent might not be granted the custody.

Another factor is how the parent dresses up when going to the court trials. Impression is important. The parent has to show that his or her lifestyle is apt for raising a child. While the fashion statement is not a definite basis of somebody’s lifestyle, a presentable appearance in court will still be a plus in showing that a parent is capable of supporting his or her child. The parent filing for full custody of a child should wear formal attire and avoid casual clothes.

The parent should prepare reasons that will prove that the child will do best under his or her custody. However, it is often best for parents to share the custody of their children. A child is best raised in an environment where he or she can be with both parents. This is only false under certain circumstances. Is one parent psychologically incapacitated? Is domestic violence involved? Did the child develop fear or anxiety because of one of the parents? The most valid reasons should be clearly stated and proven. The parent may use reports from psychologists or other documents that would solidify the claims.

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In relation to showing concrete evidence, the court will monitor the parent’s custody preparedness. Before filing for full custody, a parent should already have a reliable lawyer, a comfortable place for the child to live in, a job and enough salary to provide for the child’s daily needs.

As long as the parent who filed for full custody could meet all of the requirements stated, he or she will win the case. If not, he or she can make certain adjustments and file an appeal in court.

Before filing for full custody of a child, the parent should be confident that it is the best decision for the child. Proper communication is a must. Parents who file for sole custody should ask, “Does my child want to live with me?” If the answer is no, the parent may talk to the other and make arrangements that will benefit all of them. Nonetheless, the presence of a lawyer while they have their talk is recommended so that they could have signed documents of what they have agreed upon.

Liberal Visitation and the Rights and Responsibilities of Divorced Parents

About 50% of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. Communication, finances, abuse, irreconcilable differences, and infidelity are some of the major reasons behind these separations, and these divorces may happen to anyone at any time. Going through a divorce greatly affects not only you and your spouse but also the people around you — your friends, your parents, your co-workers even, and especially your children.

Children from divorced families have a higher probability of dropping out from high school. They also experience lower academic achievement and are more likely to have academic, behavioral, and psychological problems.

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It is hard for a child to accept and cope with the separation of his or her parents. Many changes must be made and the child may be overwhelmed and pressured by the situation he or she is already in. However, each parent still has a responsibility to the child even after they have legally separated. They still have the duty of supporting their child. The custodial parent carries the responsibility of raising the child and the non-custodial parent is expected to support the financial needs of the child.

However, the court may grant liberal visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. Parents should negotiate about their child’s visits to avoid dispute. This will help the child cope with the situation and eventually accept the new reality of his or her family. Often, the non-custodial parent makes a request to the custodial parent and these requests are expected to be accommodated most of the time. Agreeing on visitation schedules will help parents stay connected with their child and will lessen the possibility of depression — not only for the parents but also for the child.

Making arrangements, especially for newly divorced parents may be hard and exhausting. It would be difficult and stressful to put aside the relationship issues that you once had. But despite these challenges, both parties should be able reach an agreement if they set their personal issues aside and focus on what’s best for their child. By cooperating with the other party, their child would be able to feel secure in his or her new environment. This will also serve as a healthy example for the child to understand that disputes may be solved in a calm and peaceful manner.

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Communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining a good and healthy relationship. Both parents must have proper communication between them and also with their child. This will help avoid the formation of arguments and misunderstanding. Both parents must do what they can to support the different needs of their child — be it emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, mental, financial, etc. They must also be flexible enough to be able to complement the limitations of the other party (for example, the custodial parent has a lower income compared to the non-custodial parent).

Liberal visitation rights must be respected by both parties, for they each have the right to spend time with their child. However, demands of the non-custodial parent may go overboard. When this happens, it would be helpful to ask the child what he or she wants, but in cases where both parties find it hard to agree on important mattes, contacting an attorney might be the best recourse.

The Pros and Cons of Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce is when couples get legally separated without having to appear in court. First, they have to agree on certain things such as child custody and support, payment of debt, parenting responsibilities, and division of conjugal properties. After a required duration of time, the process will be over and their marriage will be ended.

What are the pros and cons of this process?

Pros:

The biggest advantage is the cost. This is the cheapest method of getting a divorce because there is no need to pay a big sum of money for a series of court trials and documents.

It can be done without the supervision of an attorney. Contested divorce happens when there are more legal issues; therefore, lawyers need to monitor every single process that is taking place. Uncontested divorce, on the other hand, means that there is no disagreement. In this case, the couple will just wait for the required time to finish the divorce process. There are no legal conflicts to be settled so lawyer supervision is not necessary.

Uncontested Divorce

Another advantage is that problems within the family will be more private and the situation will not be aggravated. In court sessions, one has to pinpoint the other person’s weakness/es in the marriage. They have to prove where the marriage had gone wrong. Sometimes, this could lead to wrath between the couples because they have to speak ill about each other. Children will be more affected and sometimes, they also have to testify in court.

You can negotiate before you get divorced. This is good because you will know what happens next. You do not leave unanswered questions and uncertainties on who is going to have custody of the children or who gets to keep which properties. In addition, you get an ample amount of time to think things over.

Cons:

Uncontested divorce has downsides, too, especially on special conditions.

This is a bad idea if domestic violence is involved. The idea of domestic violence lies on one’s dominance over the other. In this case, the person could not possibly compromise with the other.

When couples do not talk confidently with each other, divorce without the presence of lawyers will also be difficult. What if the spouse has difficulties raising important topics or questions? Communication is an important tool and without it, this method will not work out.

Another downside of this kind of divorce is that it requires some knowledge on law. For example, what if the marriage is between a greedy husband and a wife who knows nothing about the law? It is possible that during the negotiation process, the husband will get an unfair portion of the properties.

For married couples who want to get divorced using this process, they should know carefully how it works and what they need. Aside from that, they should be aware of what their spouses are like. This will make it easier for them to determine the outcome. Also, they have to make sure there are no financial matters at stake and the children will be okay with whatever kind of custody they agree upon.