Fathers who win custody in divorce look forward to spending quality time with their children regularly. However, many are not so thrilled once they discover how much child rearing costs. As a single parent, a father has no one to share grocery, medical, and other child rearing expenses. Fortunately, financial relief may be available and custodial fathers should exercise their rights to it.
A financial payment called child support is paid to a custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. Therefore, if a father receives sole custody in divorce and meets certain qualifications, he has a right to receive child support. Whether the father was married to the mother when the child was conceived, after the mother became pregnant with his child, or after she gave birth to the baby, this child support entitlement exists.
A father awarded joint custody in divorce may also be entitled to child support if the mother earns substantially more money or the father bears more of the childrearing expenses due to having a larger percentage of custody. Unfortunately, some courts do not mention this, so fathers may unknowingly forfeit their rights. This is one reason why every father should retain a family lawyer before entering custody discussions during divorce.
Family law attorneys also help their clients understand child support regulations and calculations. Each state bases its child support guidelines on the Federal Child Support Enforcement Act. However, formulas for calculating child support vary by state, so having a family lawyer assist with number crunching is helpful. Calculating child support correctly the first time prevents the need to request modification in the future.
When determining child support, the healthcare, education, and daycare needs of the child must be considered. Custodial parent income and financial needs are also factors, as is the standard of living experienced by the child prior to the divorce. To avoid unfair financial impact on one party, the ability of the other parent to pay child support is also considered. Each parent must complete a financial statement that the court will review prior to approving a child support amount.
Fathers who won child custody during divorce but did not request child support may still do so. They should consult with local father’s rights attorneys to begin the process. Fathers who were awarded child support but have not received payments as agreed should contact an attorney regarding recourse. Courts take failure to pay child support very seriously, imposing penalties that may include jail time.