Being a parent requires you to provide for the care of your children regardless of the state of the relationship between you and your spouse or partner. When two married parents decide to divorce, or when unmarried parents discontinue their relationship, the court will generally order one or both parents to pay child support. The criteria for determining child support varies by state. According to the Oregon State Bar Association, the following factors are among those taken into consideration in order to determine child support:
- Parenting plan
- Each party's income
- Medical insurance costs
- Child care costs
- Uninsured medical expenses
The parenting plan refers to the custody arrangement. Generally speaking, if you are the custodial parent, you will receive child support from the noncustodial parent.
Joint custody can complicate the child support determination somewhat. In cases of joint custody where there is a disparity in the parents' individual income, the parent who makes more money will typically pay more in child support. The aggregate time that you have custody of the child can also make a difference. For example, if you have custody four overnights a week, while the other parent has custody three overnights a week, the court will generally order the parent with three overnights a week to pay child support to you because you have custody of the child for a greater amount of time.
If you are the paying parent and experience a change of financial circumstances, it is possible to modify the child support order to reflect that change. However, because child support is for the benefit of the child and not the receiving spouse, it is unlikely that the court will waive child support for any reason.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.