The Legal Aspects of Child Support
Child support is the legal obligation on the part of a biological or adoptive parent to support their children. In the case of child support agreed upon due to separation or divorce, it’s an obligation that each partner has in relation to the other parent and the children.
Parents can come to a mutual agreement on the total amount and the form of payment. Or the couple may need to appeal to a judge. The following article will explore some of the basic principles of child support so we can learn more about the legal obligations of parents.
What does child support entail?
Child support includes more than just food and clothing. It includes all that is indispensable for sustaining the children. This includes food, shelter, clothing, medical care, spending money, etc.
It also covers education and training for the children while they’re minors. It can even entail support beyond the age of majority if the children still haven’t finished their studies.
In addition to the basic expenses tied to everyday subsistence, there are also other daily or periodic costs that can arise. These include costs like daycare or babysitting, as well as money for the school cafeteria, textbooks, and uniforms.
There will also be unplanned costs that are almost impossible to predict ahead of time. The parents should consider these kinds of costs independently.
The parental obligation to support their children
According to the existing laws which vary by country or by specific state, parents have an obligation to support their children under any circumstance, even when they’ve been denied custody.
In the case of separation or divorce, a judge will determine the contribution required by each biological or adoptive parent in order to meet the needs of the child. And they will take the appropriate measures to assure the payments are made regularly and on time.
The judge will make these decisions while also taking into consideration the parents’ economic circumstances and the children’s needs.
Until what age should you provide child support?
This isn’t always clear by law. In cases where the minor children aren’t emancipated legally and there is no ambiguity, the legal ramifications are different.
In effect, the obligation to provide child support to underage children is inherent in being related and it’s unavoidable. Parents have a duty to provide for their children and to keep them in their care. Parents have to feed their children, educate them, and see that they’re brought up well in a safe environment.
In the case of children who are no longer minors, the laws in many countries establish that the payment of child support on the part of the parents is obligatory until the children have economic independence. Nonetheless, it’s not always easy to determine when that happens.
One objective indicator that the children have reached economic independence is when they’ve entered the job market. They need to be receiving regular payments and they need to be earning at least minimum wage so they can meet their own substance costs.
How do you determine the correct amount of support payments?
Legally, authorities use two basic considerations to determine the amount of child support: the income of the biological parents and the needs of the children. In a case where the parents are unable to reach an agreement, it will be the judge who decides the amount of child support and the form of payment.
Each biological or adoptive parent can satisfy the obligation to support their children by paying the agreed or sentenced amount. They can also meet their obligations by taking custody of the children and supporting them in their own home.
Is it possible to modify the child support amount?
Sometimes the economic or personal circumstances of one of the biological or adoptive parents change substantially. In such cases, it’s possible to modify the original terms of the child support agreement. For that, it would be necessary to come to a new agreement or to appear again before a judge to have it solved judicially.
In this way, a judge can increase or decrease the original amount apportioned for child support. The changes will be made while considering the needs of the children. This is in addition to the changed circumstances for the biological or adoptive parent in question.
What happens when a parent doesn’t abide by the obligation to pay child support?
When there is a failure to abide by the sentence it should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Parents should report any violation whether it’s in terms of visitation, or child support payments. Whatever aspect having to do with the care of the children is reportable. The authorities in question will take the necessary measures so the obligations are met.
It’s recommended that you always try to reach an agreement extrajudicially. Whenever possible, it’s always clearly in the best interests of both the children and the biological or adoptive parents that you reach an amicable agreement without resorting to a judge.It might interest you...
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- Ignacio Aparicio Carol. (2018). Análisis práctico de la pensión alimenticia de los hijos en el actual código civil español: posibles soluciones para los pleitos de familia. Extraído de: https://eprints.ucm.es/48049/1/T40030.pdf
- Alejandra Gaitán Gil. (2014). La obligación de alimentos. Universidad de Almería. Extraído de: http://repositorio.ual.es/bitstream/handle/10835/3526/432_TFG.pdf