Child support is money paid by one parent to the other to help defray the expenses associated with raising the parents’ children. The amount of child support payable is often fixed according to tables contained in the jurisdiction’s Child Support Guidelines.
Guidelines set the amount of support according to the number of children, the payor’s income and possibly the receiver’s income as well. While there are some exceptions to the Guidelines, the amount of child support payable is usually the amount set out in the tables.
Child support calculators by country and state are available at timtab.com.
Costs of Raising Children for Separated Parents
After a couple separates, the couple usually finds that their individual financial situations have gotten worse. Instead of the family income paying for one rent cheque, one phone bill, one electricity bill and so forth, the same amount of income must now cover two rent payments, two phone bills, two electricity bills, and two sets of groceries.
If a child lives mostly with one of the two parents, that parent will inevitably bear a disproportionate amount of the child’s expenses, for things like school fees, food and clothing. Child support is intended to help distribute the cost associated with raising a child between the child’s parents.
What is Child Support and What Is It Not?
Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other to defray the costs that parent bears because of the child and, consequently, to help improve the child’s living conditions.
Child support is not a supplement to spousal support. It is money paid for the benefit of the child rather than the parent with whom the child mostly lives.
Nor is child support a fee paid in exchange for time with the child. Access and child support are, and should be, entirely different issues.
Child support is paid on the principle that both parents have a duty to financially contribute to the child’s upbringing. The simple fact of biological parenthood will trigger this obligation, even if the paying parent never sees the child and has no role in the child’s life.
Child support can also be payable by step-parents and persons who stand in the place of a parent for a child, although the rules are slightly different for these people and their obligation is often tempered by a biological parent’s obligation.