If your parents are divorced, you’ve probably heard them talking about child support, but what is it really? What is child support? What is it for? How does it work? Who is supposed to get it? The purpose of this article is to clear up any questions you might have about child support.
What is child support?
The dictionary defines child support as:
Money paid for the care of one’s minor child, especially payments to a divorced spouse or a guardian under a decree of divorce.
So, what does that mean? When parents get divorced, one of the things the court want to make sure of is that the children of those parents are cared for financially. In other words, that they have enough money to meet their needs. Before a divorce is finalized by the court, they determine the amount of money needed to support you and any brothers and sisters you might have who are not yet 18. They then look at how much each of your parents makes from their job(s) and how much time each parents has custody (the amount of time you are with them). They use that information and a formula to determine how much child support one parent has to pay the other.
What is child support for?
The amount of money which the court decides one parent has to pay the other, along with any money from that parents is intended to care for you and your siblings while you are in the custody of that parent. It is meant to provide for things specifically meant for you (clothes, school supplies, shoes, clubs, sports, etc.) and general expenses necessary in order to provide for you (a place to live, electricity, a car to get you from one place to another, etc.).
How does it work?
Sometimes one parent pays child support directly to the other parent, but generally payments are made to a state government agency who then processes the payment and passes the money along to the parent receiving child support. That way, they can keep track and make sure that the right amount is getting paid.
Who is supposed to get child support?
Some kids assume that since it’s child support that they are supposed to get the money and be able to spend it on whatever they want to. Unfortunately for them, that’s not how child support works, nor is that what it is intended for. Your parents still have the final say over how that money is spent. Most parents spend it wisely to take care of their children.