Child Support Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Child Support, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Child Support?

Money paid in case of divorce to a parent who takes the custody of the child by another parent as a contribution to the costs of raising the child.This a provision to ensure that the child should receive equal support from both the parents which it would hav received if there was no divorce.The amount of child support is based on the income of the individual parents,number of children,expenses of the children etc.

History and Meaning of Child Support

Child support is an arrangement in which one parent makes regular payments to the other parent to help meet the financial needs of a child. This can arise as a result of separation, divorce, or in some cases where the parents were never married. The purpose of child support is to ensure that the child receives equal support from both parents and enjoys a standard of living that is similar to what they would have had if their parents had stayed together.

In the past, women were typically awarded legal custody of children in cases of separation or divorce. The father was expected to provide support, but it wasn't officially mandated by the courts. This changed in the 20th century as family law began to evolve, and child support became a legal obligation for both parents. Today, child support laws vary by state, but in general, parents are required to provide for their children financially, even if they don't have physical custody.

Examples of Child Support

  1. After their divorce, John was ordered to pay $500 a month in child support to his ex-wife to help with the costs of raising their two children.
  2. Sarah was never married to her child's father, but she filed for child support when he stopped providing financial assistance for their son.
  3. Tom and Lisa agreed to split the costs of their daughter's medical expenses in addition to the regular child support payments.

Legal Terms Similar to Child Support

  1. Alimony - like child support, this is a court-mandated payment to one spouse after a divorce. However, alimony is intended to support the lifestyle of the spouse who receives it, rather than the child.
  2. Custody - the legal right to make decisions about a child's upbringing and well-being. Can be physical or legal.
  3. Visitation - a court-ordered arrangement in which a non-custodial parent is allowed to spend time with their child. Visitation rights may be granted even if the parent doesn't have physical custody.
  4. Child custody agreement - a legal document that outlines the terms of custody and visitation after a divorce or separation.
  5. Paternity - the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. This may need to be established before child support payments can be ordered.