Are You Eligible for Child Support?

If you are a parent and you are in the midst of a divorce or contemplating one, one question that comes to mind is whether you are entitled to receive child support from the other parent. Here are a few things to need to consider to know if you are eligible.

“Custodial” Parent of a Child

Generally, the parent who has custody of the child – the custodial parent will be eligible for child support. The child primarily lives with the custodial parent and as such the custodial parent has responsibility for the day to day care of the child. Generally the court will designate the custodial parent but in single parent household where one parent has been taking care of the child, that parent is generally assumed to be the custodial parent, especially if the other does not seek custody.

Joint Custody Situations

Sometimes, the courts grant joint custody to the parents. In such cases, both parents will be considered the custodial parents but one pay be ordered to pay child support especially if there is a significant income disparity between the parents. For example if the husband and the wife have joint custody but the husband is a stay at home father making a few hundred dollars every month selling stuff over the internet while the wife is a top ranking corporate executive earning over half a million dollars every year, the husband will be eligible to receive child support. Because of his low income, the child support is necessary to enable him to take care of the day to day expenses of caring for the child.

Additional Considerations

Just because you are the custodial parent, it does not mean that you will receive child support. There are a few other issues. Some of them are:

• Can the other parent be located? You may seek the assistance of your state child support agency to locate the other parent.

• Has paternity been provided (if paternity is an issue)?

• Do you have a court order for child custody? If you have a court order, your state child support agency will assist you locate the other parent and enforce the order.

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