Understanding Divorce And Child Support

Posted on: 25 June 2015

If you are thinking about a divorce or currently going through one, then you have a lot to think about. All of your responsibilities can get pretty confusing and overwhelming, especially when children factor into the equation. To help you out, here's the lowdown on the relationship between divorce, child custody, and child support:

What are the different kinds of child custody?

First, you have sole custody, where a single parent is given exclusive access to the child. This parent will be responsible for housing and feeding the child, ensuring that the child gets an education, and legally is the parent. The other parent will have no parental rights. However, that parent may still be required to pay child support, which will be covered later.

Next, there is joint custody, where both parents have parental rights. This is the polar opposite of sole custody and is more common in amicable divorces. If you and you ex agree that both parties should have equal involvement and rights in the life of their children, then joint custody is a good solution. However, it is fairly difficult to obtain joint custody if the parents disagree about who should have custody. In these cases, shared or alternating custody are more likely.

Shared custody is extremely common, since it accommodates the different needs of parents. In shared custody, the children will spend some period of time with one parent, then another period of time with the other parent. This cycle repeats indefinitely until the child becomes an adult. Both parents do still retain parental rights at all times.

Alternating custody is very similar to shared custody, with one key difference: only the parent that is currently watching the child has parental rights. Therefore, one parent will have parental rights during one week, while the other parent might have it the next.

What is child support?

When one parent has parental rights over the child, but is unable to financially provide for that child, the other parent is generally obligated to pay child support, which is money that is meant to be used for the raising of the child.

Child support is often arranged during divorce proceedings, where the living situation of each parent will be evaluated, as well as who is being given custody. If both parents share custody, then the amount of child support might depend on which parent makes and/or has more money. If only one parent has custody, then the non-custodial parent will likely be required to pay child support regardless of whether they make more money.

Getting divorced is a stressful and life-changing event, and you want to make sure that your child is taken care of. If you have questions, it's best to consult a divorce lawyer, such as those at Madison Law Firm PLLC.