Some divorced or single parents in California need extra financial assistance to help care for their children. These types of payments are referred to as child support. While they're usually paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent, this may not always be the case. The specifics of child support will depend on the state where the recipient lives and the nature of the agreement involving the two parties.
The first step with child support is the identify the non-custodial parent. It's important to remember that parents do not need to be ex-spouses for child support to be ordered. The amount of the payments is normally based on the income of both parents. Each state has guidelines that are used to calculate payments, which are sometimes directly taken from a non-custodial parent's wages.
A custodial parent receiving support payments also has some responsibilities. For example, the money that's received must be used for the care and welfare of the child, not a custodial parent's personal expenses. While it's fine for a custodial parent to use support money to pay the rent/mortgage and utilities for a home that a child will also be living in, for instance, it's not okay to use the funds to pay for salon expenses, personal entertainment or clothing that's not for the child.
A child support agreement could address various matters, including how the funds should be used and what expenses each parent would share. If a parent is unable to pay support for valid reasons, a lawyer may suggest requesting a child support modification. Conversely, legal action can be taken against a paying parent who either stops providing payments without making an effort to explain why or habitually makes late payments.