The most common situation for a child support order is when parents separate or divorce. The children will usually stay with one parent, and the parent they do not live with pays child support. In every state, even if the child’s parents were not married or were just living together, a child support order can usually be granted by the court.
Child support is typically ordered by a judge in family court. Each state has child support agencies who work with the courts to enforce the court orders. To begin the child support process, each parent will need to go to court to argue their side, usually with legal counsel such as a family law attorney family law attorney to ensure the order is fair for both parents.
Child support payments can be made in a few different ways. They can be paid directly to the parent who has custody by the other parent, they can be paid to the child support enforcement agency, or they can be taken from the paying parent's wages. If the payments are not paid, a judgment will be granted and may include jail time.
Any child support order is meant to be for the benefit of the child or children. It is intended to be used only for the care of the child, which includes paying to provide housing expenses, food, clothing, medical needs, and anything else the child absolutely needs. It is not the same as alimony or spousal support. If the parent with custody does not properly provide for the child, the other parent can file a new court hearing to review the case and even ask for custody.