Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support

Does child support exist without divorce?
Most states allow a parent to file for custody and visitation rights without a legal divorce so that support can be determined. Temporary custody must be decided prior to filing a petition for support. In this situation both parents have an equal right to have the children live with them, unless records show past abuse.

If a parent remarries how is the new spouse's income viewed for child support?

If the new spouse has an income it is not considered for support because he or she has no legal attachment to provide support to a child. The additional income may allow the parent  to spend less money, so more money might be available for the monthly support payments.

What are the primary parts of a support order?
Social Security number of each child, the amount to be paid to each child, how frequent the payments will be made, and the manner of payment.

Should support payment stop if visitation is being prevented?
No, unfortunately each is a legal duty of its own. If a parent is deprived of visitation, he or she must still provide support. Visitation and nonpayment of support must be petitioned in court separately.

How is support enforced?
It varies in each state. Payment of support has become an increasing problem, so there have been many recent steps taken to enforce the payment (see section 5.3). Wage assignment programs have been established, which immediately deducts any support payment from the supporter’s paycheck, before he or she gets it. Friend of the Court is a division of the county courthouse that receives the payment and then distributes it to the custodial parent.

Is child support tax deductible?
The amount of support declared at the date of settlement is not considered income for the parent who receives it; therefore, the support amount cannot be deducted as an expense for federal income tax purposes.

Is medical insurance part of child support?
The medical insurance for any minor child is to be awarded with child support. It is not always the noncustodial parent that is responsible. Presently the court looks to the parent with the best plan at the lowest rate.