Child support laws are based on the simple principle that parents share in the financial responsibility for their child(ren) during and after family law proceedings. Despite the clarity of this statement, legal and social issues related to child support can be very difficult to sort through. A combination of difficult moral issues, ever-changing legal policies and strong emotions can turn a simple legal principle into an intense battle.

Divorcing parents can reach agreements about child support in several different ways: through the collaborative divorce process, with the help of a mediator, out of court settlement negotiations, or in a court of law. Even if you develop a plan outside of court, it will need to be approved by the family courts. The primary goal of a child support plan is to ensure that each parent is contributing fairly based on his or her finances as well as each parents’ timesharing arrangement.

When making decisions about child support, judges consider a long list of detailed factors, including but not limited to:

  • The total income of both parents (including Social Security, investments, etc)
  • The number of children in the family
  • The predicted needs of each child based on age
  • Certain expenses of each parent (taxes, support to other children, union dues, etc)
  • Any special circumstances affecting a child’s health or needs