Every parent has a set of legal rights and responsibilities that they must fulfill towards their children. These rights and responsibilities are required whether the child lives with the parent or not, if the parents have never been married or if the parents have been divorced.
One of these responsibilities is a financial obligation to support the child. This means that the parent can be legally required to pay support for a child to a custodial parent with whom the child resides. The amount of child support that should be paid takes into account a number of different factors.
Firstly the expenses related to the upkeep of the child need to be listed. This will include accommodation, education, medical costs, groceries, clothing, entertainment and any other amount that is paid by the custodial parent such as for extracurricular activities, hobbies, personal needs, etc.
Income may also play a role in calculating child support. If the custodial parent earns less than the non-custodial parent, then the non-custodial parent will be required to pay proportionally more than the custodial parent. A non-custodial parent who has no income is not free and clear of paying child support and could still be ordered to pay. His or her parents may also be approached to pay on their behalf or their assets may be seized.
Non-payment of child support will result in a court order being issued. If the court order is ignored, a warrant for arrest can be issued. A parent may be jailed for non-payment of child support. This will result in a criminal record that cannot be erased and may affect future employment, ability to apply for credit or finance and other serious consequences. The court may also issue a garnishing order which means that the support amount will be deducted from their salary or other form of income.
Child support rights provide that a custodial parent may not withhold visitation of the child due to non-payment of child support. They may also not leave the state or country in which they are living without the express permission of both parents.
The courts take issues surrounding child support rights and responsibilities very seriously as a child who is not receiving support may need to rely on the state for financial and other assistance. However, it is also important for non-custodial parents to understand their rights in this process and not be over-charged for the upkeep of the child.