Child support rights are legally-mandated payments specifically allocated for the needs of a child. Such payments are typically made between two parents who no longer live together but are mutually caring for their child. These rights are generally issued by a court of law.
The parent with whom the child lives full-time is known as the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is the one who typically makes the payments. In some special circumstances, the child may live with a legal guardian or grandparent who is receiving the money instead of with a parent.
Many countries have child support rights under various legal names. For example, such issues are termed child maintenance in the United Kingdom. These rights are typically determined and enforced by a regional family law court. They tend to deal with matters relating to marriage, divorce, custody, and determining parentage.
Child support rights may also be enforced across national boundaries. If the parents live in separate countries, then typically the laws of the country in which the custodial parent resides will take precedence. That country’s court would then be responsible for ensuring that payments are adequate and made in a timely manner.
Parents can settle child support rights out of court when they are able to agree to the same terms. Choosing to solve matters in this manner eliminates the need for continued, expensive litigation. Both parents must agree to the same amount and frequency of payments to avoid needing a decree issued by a judge.
When parents cannot reach such an agreement, the court charged with hearing the case will determine the amount of the payments through a child support calculator. This formula is specific to the region in which the court is located and will vary accordingly. These calculations generally take into account the annual incomes of both parents, the cost of additional health insurance to cover the child where applicable, and the cost of daycare. The amount determined by the calculator is then used as a guideline, and may be raised or lowered at the discretion of the court.
The child support rights may be altered as one parent’s financial circumstances change. When a parent loses a job or is promoted to a higher-paying position, the amount of the payment may adjust accordingly. This allows the parent to meet the expectations of the regional court in a reasonable manner without risking bankruptcy or neglect.
When a child reaches the age of majority, at which time they are considered a legal adult and no longer under the authority of their parents, these rights may cease. This may also happen should the child die. This limitation prevents payments from continuing unnecessarily beyond the time when the child would need them.