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Child Support Overview

Child support is the pre-determined sum of money paid (usually monthly) to the spouse who retains primary custody of the child. The amount is set by the custody agreement and is required by law. Child support is intended for the benefit of the child, and usually pays for the basic necessities such as:

  • Food, housing and clothing
  • Health insurance and medical care
  • Educational expenses

Determining the Amount of Child Support

Courts generally require each parent to complete a financial statement before making a decision on child support. In the financial statement, the parent must detail his or her monthly income and expenses. Based on the financial information and the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the Court uses a standard formula to determine the child support amount.

Whose Obligation is it to Pay Child Support?

Payment of child support can be required of all parents (fathers or mothers, or parents in a same sex union) regardless of whether they are married or not. In disputes about who the child's father is a paternity test can be required or ordered. Step-parents are not obligated by law to pay child support unless the step-parent has legally adopted the child or children.

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