What does Child Support mean?
Child support is the payments made to support a child by one parent to the other parent after a divorce or legal separation. Child support is the most litigious aspect of a divorce case. All states have their own laws and formulas for determining child support payment amounts, but generally before courts award child support payments they will evaluate the needs of the child, the ability of the noncustodial parent to support themselves, the standard of living experienced by the child prior to the divorce, and the amount of children which must be supported. The state will generally not consider the misconduct of either parent when determining payment amounts.
Child support may be garnished from the pay check of the appropriate parent. Parents who refuse to pay child support can be sentenced to jail. Governmental agencies also have a variety of enforcement tools to ensure child support is paid. Common enforcement methods include suspending a driver's license, revoking medical licenses or other professional licenses, and taking income tax refunds.
Parents who have had a reduction of income, a serious illness, a change in their child's circumstances or a serious financial loss can petition the court for a child support modification. Custodial parents, who feel they need more money, can also petition the court for an increase of child support payments.