In most states, a minor has the legal right to receive financial support from their parents since their birth until they reach 18 years of age, whether their parents are married, legally separated, divorced or have never married. Orders of child support are a method through which the court sets the terms of the support for the child and the basis under which measures can be taken to ensure that it is paid or, in default, to retain a part of the salary of the parent who does not comply with its obligation to maintain the child.
In legal terms, an “order” is a mandate issued by a judge (usually a justice of the family in cases of child support), in which it requests that the parties take certain actions (that is to say, to make periodic payments of a set amount), or stick to the penalties for violating the order.
Creation of orders of child support
While the specific procedures may differ between states, an order of child support issued in one of the following three situations: as part of the divorce process; when an unmarried father requests, or when you use the services of a state agency in charge of your request.
Orders of child support as part of the divorce process
When a couple in a divorce have one or more children, the court will usually issue an order of support as part of the divorce process. For example, when he puts an end to issues such as property division and child custody (as part of the judgment of divorce), the family court can also decide upon the obligation of the parent without custody of financially supporting their children.
The family court will issue an order of child support that the noncustodial parent must pay a certain sum of money per month to help financially to their child. The amount of assistance is based on the state guidelines on child support, pursuant to a formula determined according to the income of the parents and how many children they have.
[alert-note]Note: Even if the couple in a divorce to reach a settlement out of court, in the majority of states you will need the approval of the family court to ensure that they meet the state standards on the livelihood of children. Once approved, the agreement will serve as the basis for an order of child support to be issued by the court.[/alert-note]
Orders of child support and single parents
A parent also can request an order of child support even if the mother and father never married. In those cases, the custodial parent that requires the child support can go to family court (usually a branch of the state court in your county) and request the issuance of a support order.
The court will issue a child support order after paternity has been established; this means that the father has recognized or that measures have been taken to establish it. In cases of divorce, the court will set an amount in dollars in accordance with the state guidelines on child support.
Orders of child support and state services
Each state has a department or agency that is responsible for the enforcement of payments for child support, usually through the local branch at the county level. In almost all states, a parent who seeks the payment or the collection services of the child support cannot receive assistance from these agencies unless there is a child support order. For example, suppose that a single mother receives informal and regular payment of child support by the father of her child, that is to say, without an order of support. If suddenly the father stops making those payments, the mother will need to go to the court to issue an order of child support before the enforcement agency support-can provide services to locate the father, to withhold your salary, or make him fulfill the order.
[alert-note]Note: This state agency may be the junior branch of a statewide organization larger, as the Division of Child Support of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or it can be its own state agency, such as the Department of Services for the child Support in California.[/alert-note]
A parent who needs the sustenance of the children may not have to go to court to obtain an order of support, as the service agency in your county or town may be filed with the court on your behalf and request that the issuance of the order. Act followed, the agency may provide services to the parent requesting the child support.
Function of orders of child support
Once a court issues the order, it becomes a legally binding document that, among other things, you can:
- identify the parts in the order (who pays and who receives the nourishment);
- set the amount of child support to be paid (including frequency of payment);
- to establish the procedure of payment (that is, deductions from wages, direct payment, or other options);
- authorize sanctions in case of violation of the order (for example, garnishment of wages, imposition of fines).
Enforcement of orders for child support
If a parent fails to meet his obligation to pay, there are various forms of exercise the order of child support. In some states, the order itself will state that the salary of the father will be withheld if support payments are not made in a proper way. Other actions include the seizure of property, interception of tax refunds and the sanctions of the court to the father by entering in “contempt” by failing to meet the order. In this context, the “contempt” is a legal standard that states that the instructions to financially sustain a child, were raped, and the penalties for this can include imprisonment.
Remember that, in most states, must have been issued a child support order before an agency may proceed to enforce the payment. As mentioned above, once it issues an order of child support, the agency in charge of issuing the order may also localize to the father, raise the money of their support or offer services to ensure compliance with the sustenance.
Changes in orders of child support
The amount for the support can be increased if a change in circumstances justifies it, such as an increase in the income of the one who pays or the costs of housing, a reduction in the income of the custodial parent, or an increase in the needs of the child. Similarly, the amount may be reduced if circumstances warrant.
Child support: How to obtain the help of an attorney
If you are facing a dispute the potential for the sustenance of children, whether due to a divorce or because he is a single dad, a lawyer specializing in family law can help you with a fair representation of the parties in the process. A lawyer specializing in family law will work to obtain the best possible result in the execution of the support order, in the fulfillment of an order already existing, or in the establishment (or rejection) of the paternity. The first step is to find a lawyer spatialized in family law in your area.