Traditionally, women stayed at home to raise the children while men were the breadwinners. If a couple divorced, the female parent was almost automatically guaranteed to receive custody of the children because she was considered the natural caregiver. As a result, many male parents were forced to pay child support to maintain a comfortable standard of living, good healthcare, and good education for their children.
Things definitely have changed in recent decades. Many male parents now fight for and win custody during divorce. This enables them to share in the upbringing of their children. Some men are even able to win sole custody in divorce by proving that the mothers of their children are not suitable caregivers. If male parents with partial or full custody earn substantially less money than their former spouses do, they may also be entitled to child support payments.
Child support is intended to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for children after their parents divorce. If a father wins sole or joint custody in divorce and he earns less money than his former spouse does, he may be entitled to financial support for child-rearing purposes. Child support may be temporary until he gets a higher-paying job or it may continue until the children are no longer minors. The monthly amount can change over time as the incomes of the former spouses change.
States use different formulas when calculating child support, so there is no one set amount that a custodial parent will receive. On the other hand, several questions are commonly considered by states when making child support determinations. These include how much each parent earns, the percentage of custody each parent has, and the financial needs of the child.
When determining parental ability to pay child support, the court usually determines net income by subtracting income taxes, Social Security payments, and other mandatory deductions from gross income earned by the parent. Expenses for shelter, clothing, food, and other basic necessities are often also considered. In many states, courts may also consider what each parent earns versus what he or she has the potential to earn.
It is not always easy to determine whether one spouse should pay another child support. A family law attorney can help because this professional knows what the state courts consider when making this decision. If a male custodial parent wants to know whether he is entitled to child support from his former spouse, he should talk to this legal expert.
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