If you and your child's other parent are getting a divorce, you naturally expect the other parent to pay a fair share of your child's basic expenses -- such as food, shelter and clothing. After all, that is the purpose of child support.
The Christmas season is upon us again, which means that most people will be spending much more than normal -- especially on gifts for the kids. But don't make the mistake of thinking that your gifts are an adequate substitution for your usual support payments.
Are you having trouble establishing paternity of your child because you and the baby's father aren't married? Are you having difficulty collecting court-ordered support because your ex-spouse has dropped off the radar? Is your ex-spouse self-employed and suddenly claiming that their business is faltering -- despite not making any changes to their lavish lifestyle?
Good parents wait to have children until they are prepared to deal with the pressure on money, time and energy that even one kid can create. Many experts argue it is even harder to raise children on one's own or after a divorce. This is partially because children often do better with set boundaries and routines, which can fall apart when parents stop working together.
Ask any divorce attorney and they can tell you that some issues involving a divorce can drag on for years when one or both parties refuse to be cooperative.
The way that child support is structured is designed to be as fair as possible. Sometimes, that means that a court has to get a little tough on a parent who seems to be deliberately "underachieving."
There are a lot of misconceptions about child support -- including how the money can be spent. Sometimes, the paying parent feels entitled to demand proof of how every dollar was used under the mistaken belief that support has to be spent on things that only benefit the child.
Parents have an obligation to support their children to the best of their ability. Once a child support order is established, paying support becomes a legal requirement that the courts can enforce through civil and criminal penalties.
There's a lot to be learned about how to handle a dispute with your divorcing spouse -- and how not to handle one -- by watching how celebrity divorces play out.
What's the most important thing to remember if you're in a big dispute about child support with your ex-spouse? Show up to your scheduled depositions and try to work it out. Otherwise, you're going to end up in court.