In general, divorce can be complex. When the separation involves a family with minor children, even more is involved than just property division. In most cases, one parent resides with the child while the other parent is expected to pay child support. Child support is a financial contribution to the everyday and extracurricular costs of raising a child. In most states, the noncustodial parent will be expected to pay support until the child is no longer considered a minor. Certain circumstances, however, may warrant a longer period of support, such as if a child has a serious physical or cognitive impairment.
A couple seeking a divorce will generally have a child support order included in the final legal agreement. This involves the calculated amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will be obligated to give to the residential parent for the child's financial needs. Since the amount is generally calculated according to the parent's financial situation, a modification of the amount may be necessary if there is a substantial change, such as a job loss. Similarly, the parent will need to file for the termination of support once the child is considered old enough to make independent legal decisions.
The failure to provide child support payments to the residential parent for the child will result in an accumulated amount owed. Continual delinquency of payments may have penalties, such as driver's license suspension or incarceration. An attorney experienced in divorce law can play a critical role in seeing that child support guidelines are met.
If a parent is owed child support payments for the care of a child, an attorney can be effective in preparing and filing an official support order. Since the child's best interest is the priority, establishing support is essential.