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single dad child support lawIn many divorce cases where a couple has children, it is assumed that the father will pay child support to the mother. However, this isn’t always the case. In many modern families, dads and moms play equal roles in caring for their kids, and they should continue to do so after they become separated or get divorced. Depending on the circumstances, some dads may even be named the custodial parent of their children and have the majority of the parenting time with their kids after getting divorced or breaking up with an unmarried partner. In these types of situations, dads will need to be sure to understand their rights regarding child support.

Child Support for Dads Who Have Primary Physical Custody or Shared Custody

The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents contribute toward their children’s needs. Typically, the parent who the children live with the majority of the time will receive child support from the other parent. This means that if your children stay with you most of the time, you may have the right to receive child support from your ex-spouse. Even if you were not married to your children’s mother, both of you will be required to provide financial support for your children, and as the custodial parent, you can ask a family court judge to enforce these obligations.

Depending on the state where you live, different methods may be used to calculate the amount of child support you can receive from your child’s mother. Some states determine child support using a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. However, many states are shifting to an income-sharing model that takes the amount earned by both parents into account. In these cases, an amount of child support will usually be determined based on what both parents would have spent to care for their children if they were still together. This amount will usually be divided between the parents based on the amount of income each parent earns. If you are the custodial parent, your ex will be required to pay her portion of the total child support amount to you.

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child and spousal support divorced dads lawIf you are a father who is going through the divorce process, you’ll probably be concerned about your finances. In addition to dealing with the costs of the divorce itself, including legal fees and expenses related to finding new living arrangements, you’re going to need to create a new budget to determine how you can cover your ongoing expenses. In the midst of all of this, you may also have to deal with requirements to pay child support or spousal support, and you’ll want to understand when these types of payments are appropriate and how they are calculated.

The Purpose of Financial Support

Being required to pay support to your ex-spouse may seem like a punishment or penalty. However, this is usually not the reason that financial support is ordered. Instead, these payments are meant to ensure that you, your ex, and your children will all have the financial resources you need. 

Child support is paid for the benefit of children, ensuring that they will be provided for after their parents’ divorce. Each state has different laws that specify how child support obligations are calculated, but the amount of payments is usually based on the income that each parent earns, as well as the amount of parenting time children spend with each parent. While the parent who has more parenting time will usually receive child support from the other, this is not always the case. If you earn less than your ex, she could be required to pay child support to you, depending on the methods used to calculate child support in your state.

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Modifying child support after losing your jobThe coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly everyone in the United States, and in addition to concerns about how an infection can impact your health and well-being, you may also be experiencing financial difficulties. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have forced many businesses to close, and many people have lost their jobs or seen reductions in the income they earn. In fact, unemployment rates have risen to levels that have not been seen in the U.S. since the Great Depression. If you have lost your job or experienced a reduction in income, you will likely be concerned about how this will affect your child support obligations.

Requirements to Pay Court-Ordered Child Support

If you have been ordered to pay child support following your divorce or after separating from your child’s other parent, these orders will remain in effect, regardless of your employment status. This means that even if you lose your job, you will still be required to pay child support owed, and if you miss any payments, you will be required to make them up in the future, and you may also owe interest on late payments.

However, even though you will still have the obligation to provide financial support for your children, family courts will most likely recognize that changes in the income you earn have affected your ability to pay. You may be able to pursue a modification of your child support order based on your new circumstances. Any changes to child support may take other forms of income into account, including unemployment benefits you earn, government stimulus payments, or other assets you own that could be used to meet your children’s needs. If your ex-spouse has also experienced a job loss or employment issues, the child support modifications may also take these factors into account.

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