Whether parents are divorcing or simply no longer sharing a life, support payments can be an important contribution to the child's well-being. Many California parents may not fully understand the purpose of child support, especially when both the mother and father are either struggling or well-off. Support payments go from one ex to the other to help cover the children's expenses, and they are generally directed from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. However, the latter may vary depending on the specific circumstances of child custody and the parents' financial situations.
Child support laws vary from state to state, so being aware of California's guidelines and processes can be important for separated parents. In most cases, the custodial parent, who has primary custody and decision-making authority of the child for the majority of the time, is the recipient of child support from a noncustodial parent with visitation. However, child support can also be involved when parents have joint custody, especially when there is an economic disparity between the households.
Some people think of fathers paying and mothers receiving child support. However, mothers also pay child support, especially when they are noncustodial parents or involved in a joint custody plan. The purpose of these payments is to ensure that both parents support the financial cost of raising a child. The payments do not serve to benefit the custodial parent but the children themselves.
Filing for child support is often important for parents facing hefty expenses that can accompany raising children. A parent who is struggling to make ends meet can work with a family law attorney to learn how to file a petition for child support.