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Child support basics -- who, what and why

More than just a check, child support payments are designed to help a child thrive. In Florida, a person may wonder about the ins and outs of child support, especially if they are newly separated or divorced. With each new situation in life comes questions about the details. In regard to child support, some are wondering - who is it for, who is responsible to pay and why is it important? 

Child support is for the care of minor children. This type of financial support is for basic care such as food, housing, utilities and required expenses, as well as for items or activities that the child enjoyed during life in the two-parent household. Regular payments can increase stability in a child's life, reduce poverty and the need for government assistance. These payments are typically court-ordered.

The person who receives the payment must either be the parent or be appointed as the legal custodian. The person who will pay is the noncustodial parent. Paternity can be established through a test if needed in order to prove responsibility. Both financial and emotional support are important for a child, as well as a relationship with both parents.

After the court orders the child support payments, it will fall on the noncustodial parent to promptly and regularly send them. If the parent fails or is unable to make the payment, Florida state enforcement officials may become involved. Payments can be captured by garnishing paychecks, tax returns or bonuses. The optimal way for the individual to participate is by negotiating an agreement that works for all parties involved. Many people choose to hire a family law attorney for help during the negotiation. 

Source:, "Child support- what is it, who pays, why it's important", Carrie Mcdermott, Nov. 29, 2017

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