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How Child Support Enters into a Divorce

Aug 31, 2008
Marriage is a legal relationship that changes the legal status of both parties, even though it starts out as a personal and emotional commitment. Thus, we see the prenuptial marriage contracts that may come into being between two people that supposedly have undying love for each other. If the legal rights or obligations are not set out in writing, many marriage partners often do not know their rights.

Persons who have decided to obtain a divorce have basically two procedural avenues available to them. The two options are an uncontested proceeding or a contested proceeding. If there are children and the couple has accumulated assets during the marriage, do not be surprised when the divorce seems to turn into a long drawn out and frustrating process. Remember, lawyers are normally paid on an hourly basis.

No matter what you do, the children will be forever affected by the divorce, however amicable it may be. Of course, the nastier things become, the more the children are exposed to the ugly side of a marriage break-up. Depending on the ages of the children, they have probably already picked up the animosity between the parents towards one another.

In some cases, a child will adopt, perhaps unknowingly, that animosity one parent directs at the other parent. In the best or even uncontested divorce settings, where both parents seem to get along and not argue too much, the children's emotions will still be pulled between their parents.

When people end up going to court, the losing party is almost always unhappy and they are often prone to look for ways to violate the letter or spirit of any judgment made by the court. They may even be justified in that the court may have been in error. Such as giving custody to a parent that has mental, drug, or criminal problems. But remember that the court has the last say concerning custody issues and child support questions.

Child custody can be quite a hotly contested issue. It usually is one of the most contested and highly emotional issues in a divorce, leading to a multitude of arguments and disputes that can span many years after a divorce is finalized. Child custody is one of the most sensitive and emotional issues in the divorce process.

Legal child custody refers to your rights as a parent to make decisions about your child's health, well-being and education. Primary physical custody refers to your right as a parent to have the child living in your home. Then a preliminary child support amount can be calculated, but not necessarily agreed upon.

Often there are many issues with respect to the information required to be considered. Many parents believe that child support should somehow be adjusted to account for time the child spends with one parent or the other. After all, they reason, when the child is with that parent, he or she is in charge of meeting the child's needs and if the non-custodial parent has the child for an entire week in the summer, there shouldn't be any child support being paid for that week.

However, this is the wrong assumption. It doesn't matter if the non-custodial parent spends one day a week or 7 days a week with the child, child support is not affected. Child support is a set amount that only fluctuates when it is increased or decreased by the court. The amount of time each of you spends with your child does not affect support payments, unless you have a complete change in custody, or go to a shared parenting plan where you each have equal time with your child.

The way you share medical, educational, and other expenses also does not change based on your parenting schedule, and if you are the one that takes your child to the doctor and the other parent is the one who is responsible for medical costs, he or she should reimburse you for the expense.
About the Author
Gerald Costa has gone through the divorce and child custody process. I put together an ebook to help those that have to go through a divorce where child custody will become an issue. Find out more Family Law, Child Custody and Custody Battle information at http://www.secretsoffamilylaw.com
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