4 Factors You Should Know About Family Law And Child Custody

family lawGoing through a divorce is never easy, but for many couples, it’s the smart choice. Things always become a bit more complex in family law cases when children are involved, because both custody and child support must be sorted out.

Raising a child is no cheap or easy task. For some, child support payments are the only way to provide children with the food and resources they need to succeed. In 2011, a report titled “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support” released by the U.S. Census Bureau found that of the 14.4 million American custodial parents — nearly half (48.6%) — had some form of legal or informal child support plan in place.

But before you make an agree to anything, there are some things you should know:

  1. Who pays child support?: All parents are legally obligated to support their dependent children to the fullest extent they can. The parent with custody typically covers day-to-day expense, but may also be entitled to support payments from the other parent. In some cases, the payments will even continue after the custodial parent remarries.
  2. When should you apply for child support?: While most parents apply for child support immediately after a separation or divorce, the custodial parent can technically seek out child custody lawyers and file at any time. However, in cases involving step-parents, the longer the custodial parent waits to file, the less likely a court is to order child support.
  3. How long do you pay child support?: Child support payments usually continue as long as the child is a dependent up until the age of 18. Some exceptions do exist. If a child has a disability, continues going to school full-time, or is unable to financially support his or herself, payments may continue after he or she turns 18.
  4. How much do you pay?: Setting the amount of these payments is usually determined according to the Child Support Guidelines. Each state has its own set of guidelnes, but most are based on a certain percentage of the combined income of both parents.However, after mediation with child custody attorneys, the family law judge has final authority on the amount of each payment. Overall, around $37.9 billion in child support was owed back in 2011, amounting to an average of $6,050 annually.

These matters often involve a fair amount of money, even though only about 62.3% of the money owed in child support was paid, amounting to median of around $3,770 per year. Therefore, receiving child custody legal advice from family law firms could ensure that both parents and children remain financially stable.