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The purpose of child support: More than necessities

Child support is sometimes a point of contention in divorce, but it really shouldn't be. It's there to support the healthy growth of a child who now has to live in two separate homes with his or her parents. In most cases, the child has a primary caretaker, either his or her mother or father, and the other parent participates through visitation or custody in shorter spurts. For the parent who provides the larger amount of care, child support is a necessity.

What is child support used for?

Child support isn't just there to support a child's clothing or school activities. It's there to provide:

  • A stable home environment
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Medical care
  • Extracurricular activities

Overall, child support encourages a home in which there is little to no difference from one where both parents are there supporting the child.

Why do some people feel child support is unfair?

For people who watch their children and provide for them, paying the other parent an additional amount may seem like it's unfair. However, there are guidelines a court uses to determine if it is fair to require child support, and if so, how much is fair to the parents.

There are cases where some parents do not use child support for the child. Maybe the parent is using the money for his or her own interests, for example. If that happens and you have proof, you may wish to speak with your attorney about addressing this with the court. Overall, the money is there to encourage a normal life in the other parent's home, but the funds should impact the child positively in some way.

What should you do if the other parent won't pay support?

Child support is court ordered, which means the parent ordered to pay is required by law to do so. If he or she is not paying, there are ways to obtain that money, but you must address the problem with the courts first.

There are cases in which a parent may struggle to pay because of changes in work or financial obligations. In those cases, the parent should reach out to modify the support obligation through the court or speak with you directly to discuss the situation and how you'd like to proceed.

There is always something a child needs, and child support is there to make sure children get those needs fulfilled as soon as possible.

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