Child support eligibility refers to an adult’s ability to collect child support under state and local laws.  In most cases, child support is paid from one parent to the other in instances where custody of the child is divided. 

Traditionally, the father paid child support to the child’s mother.  However, in a more modern context, the non-custodial parent (the parent that has less custodial time with the child) typically pays child support to the custodial parent.

What Factors are Considered When Determining Child Support Eligibility?

Child support eligibility depends on many factors.  These need to be considered in the light of the “child’s best interest standard”.  This means that child support amount calculations are made according to the needs of the child, rather than the desires or intentions of the parents. 

Some of the factors that a court considers when determining child support may include:

  • Which parent is considered the custodial parent
  • Whether the parents have equal or joint custody
  • The financial capabilities and employment background of each parent
  • The child’s needs and educational requirements
  • Whether either of the parents have a criminal record
  • Whether either parent has remarried
  • Other considerations such as travel distance between the two parties

Thus, courts will have to analyze many different factors in order to determine which parent is eligible for child support, and how much they are entitled to receive.  Generally speaking, child support is supposed to be used for the child’s basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, shelter, educational needs, etc.

What if I Wasn’t Considered Eligible for Child Support?

In some cases, it’s possible to appeal a court order that determined the child support arrangement.  This may require presentation of additional evidence, such as proof of hardship, unemployment information, etc. 

Alternatively, a child support order can also be modified to reflect changes in the living arrangements for the child or either parent.  However, this requires the existence of a previous child support order.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Child Support Eligibility Factors?

Child support eligibility is a very important part of child custody and support hearings.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding child support, you should contact a child support lawyer immediately. A lawyer can begin researching whether you are eligible for child support, and if so, how much you should be entitled to.  Most states have different child support laws, so it’s important to consult with an attorney for advice on the subject.