Understanding Your Child Support Rights
By Renee Gerber
, last updated July 1, 2011
When you have a child, whether you were married and then divorced or if you were not married and want the other parent to support your child, you should know all about child support rights. Both mothers and fathers have certain rights when it comes to child support. Many individuals, unfortunately, do not know their rights, and it would only benefit both parties to know about these laws so that they can ensure their child gets everything he or she needs.
Mothers are usually the primary caregivers to their child and are, in most cases, the parent who is designated as such. However, many courts over the years have deemed the father as the custodial parent. Both parents will receive a fair custody hearing that will determine who gets the child. Depending on a few different factors, it is anyone's guess who will win custody rights, unless of course, extenuating circumstances come into play, such as abuse, for example. In other words, the mother cannot simply assume that she will automatically be awarded custody of the child.
Regardless of which parent does gain custody of their child, that primary parent is due a certain amount of financial support that will go toward raising their child. The courts deem the amount of finances that will be awarded, based on the other parent's salary. If the non-custodial parent does not comply with the child support order and help to financially support their child, he or she can have a portion of his or her wages garnished. This means that the money will automatically be deducted from their pay and will go directly to the custodial parent so that the child receives financial support from that person.
In many cases, when the father is not the custodial parent and refuses to pay child support or adhere to the court's orders, it is a matter of him not believing he is truly the father. In this situation, the court will order a DNA test to be performed in order to determine paternity, whether he is indeed the biological father. When the test does indeed establish paternity, the father will then be forced to adhere to the child support payments.
Single mothers are entitled to child support in order to raise their child, regardless of their own financial situation. However, those who are financially needy are supported by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and can therefore receive financial assistance. Of course, all child support laws vary in each state, so if you are a single mother or a single father with custody of your child be sure to check out the laws in your particular state so that you know all your rights and everything that is due to you on behalf of your child.
As a father who is the non-custodial parent, you can expect to have to pay a monthly amount in child support. The exact amount varies and is dependent on your salary as well as how many children you have to support. In some cases, fathers pay as little as $200 per month in child support, while others may pay $1,000 or more. If by any chance you fail to make payments and are in arrears, the mother of your child can bring you to court and sue for back child support. This can even occur when your child is in their teens.