Child support is an important financial support given to one parent who has their child in their custody more often than the other parent. For instance, if a mother and father share custody but the father has custody 75 percent of the time, the mother may pay child support to provide for the child while in the father's care.
Child support is used for a variety of purposes. It doesn't have to be used for the child specifically. It may be used toward rent for a better home, to buy groceries or to participate in activities. For the most part, it's up to the parent receiving the funds to decide how they're best used.
How do you receive child support?
It is normal to receive child support during the divorce proceedings. Either you and your spouse will decide on a fair amount or will allow the judge to determine a custody arrangement suited to your situation. The judge, if they order support, will look at a number of factors to decide how much is fair including state guidelines and factors such as each parent's earnings and the child's medical needs.
Pennsylvania's state guidelines are based on the monthly income of the parents, even if they are not working. It's very important to understand that even those who are not working may be ordered to pay child support, and they will be held to that obligation regardless of their ability to pay.
How long do children receive support?
Children have the potential to receive support until they are 18 years old or until they graduate from high school. In some instances, child support may extend beyond the age of 18, like when a child has physical or emotional challenges to consider.
Keep in mind that the amount of support a child is entitled to may change based on a parent's circumstances. For example, if a parent gets a new job or loses a job, the support may be altered through a modification. All modifications need to go through the court.
Children are entitled to this support as a way of providing for them when they're not in one parent's care. It makes it more like they're living in a two-parent household financially, which can help them have better access to education, food, activities, shelter and medical care. Child support is a necessity for many people, so it's not something to overlook.