All dependent children are owed a legal right to be supported by their parents financially. When a couple lives together with their children, they both support the children together. Parents who no longer live together often have a custodial arrangement in which the child or children lives most of the time with one parent. That parent is the custodial parent and has custody of the child.
When this custodial arrangement is written in a separation agreement or a court order, it is sometimes called legal custody. The arrangement may also occur without a written agreement or court order, and this is referred to as“de facto” custody. But, either way, the custodial parent has the bulk of the responsibility for the daily care of the child and incurs most of the expenses of raising the child. The noncustodial parent should also help with costs for the children by paying child support money to the parent with custody.
Who pays child support?
All parents have the legal responsibility to support their children as well as they can. Parents with custody usually have most of the everyday expenses of child-raising, so may be owed child support from the other parent. The child support monies owed to the custodial parent may continue even if that person remarries or starts living with someone else.
Even if a man has never been married to, or lived with, the child’s mother, a biological father possesses a legal duty to support his child financially. This is the case even if he never had an ongoing relationship with the child’s mother. If a man claims he is not the biological father of a child, a court can order him to take a blood test to determine the facts.
When does child support terminate?
Child support generally must be paid as long as a child remains dependent. Any child under the age of 18 is considered dependent, unless:
- The child has married
- The child has a disability or illness
- The child is 16 years old or over and has withdrawn from parental control voluntarily
Child support might continue after children turn 18 if they are unable to support themselves because they are still going to school full-time or have a disability or illness.
Even if a child is not living at home with the custodial parent while going to school, as long as the child maintains his or her primary residence with the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent might have to continue to provide child support payments. This typically continues until the child turns 22 or achieves a diploma or post-secondary degree. In some situations, a judge might order child support to go on even longer.
Why hire a child support attorney?
Child support can be a complex issue, and families often get tangled in the technicalities. Seek professional assistance from a child support lawyer when you’re navigating this and other aspects of family law, such as divorce, spousal support, and child custody. Get started by scheduling a consultation with a qualified Bloomington family lawyer today.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and what you should know about child support.