Understanding The Child Support Process


One of the pressing issues that need to be resolved in a divorce case is child support. Which parent gets the child is something for the judge to decide? According to the website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC, divorce can bring a lot of adjustments to both the parents and the children. The cost of supporting a child can pile up on the part of the custodial parent so child support agreements with the noncustodial parent must be in place.

Although child support should be fairly straightforward, it entails more than just paperwork. The first step is to get in touch with your local Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). The agency will be the one to implement the child support order. If you were never married to the father of your child or to someone else at the time of conception, the OCSE will first establish paternity. This could mean tracking down the other parent in order to perform genetic testing. On the other hand, if you were married to someone else during conception, the state may assume that your spouse is the biological father.

Once paternity has been established, the child support order will then be established based on the state child support guidelines. The income of both parents and the number of children will be considered as well as other factors. If either parent can get medical insurance for child at an affordable cost, the court will take it into consideration when deciding the amount of child support to be awarded. If the noncustodial parent is able to get health insurance at a reasonable cost, the parent will ordered to secure one for the child.

One the child support order is in place, the amount awarded will be deducted from the paycheck of the noncustodial parent. In most instances, state law will require immediate income withholding. It will also provide the noncustodial parent with a record of payments made.

The support order will be enforced if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay at all. Non-compliance with the order makes the noncustodial parent liable for contempt of court, the penalty of which could be a fine, jail sentence or both. The noncustodial parent may also be ordered to enroll in the Fatherhood Program or in the Parental Accountability Court Program.

Both parents can ask for a review of a child support order three years after it took effect unless a substantial change in circumstances can be proven for orders less than three years old.

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