Why Pay Child Support?

Mom and baby play together on the floor.

Any subject surrounding money in a divorce can cause stress and unease. Nevertheless, if children are involved, one money-related matter that parents must carefully consider is what to do about child support.

Child support is often a crucial issue to address in a divorce between parents. Who will make the payments, how that parent will pay, and how those payments are used are just a few matters that must be worked out. Unfortunately, making decisions on those matters alone isn't always very simple when tension between co-parents is high.

As often as divorce professionals may stress the importance of child support—as well as the consequences that may come if payments are not made—some parents may still be left wondering what the big deal is with these payments anyway. Why is it important to pay child support in the first place? 

Why Child Support Payments Matter

Child support can make a significant difference in your child's life as you transition into co-parenting. Here are just a few key reasons why child support payments matter.

Support Your Child's Upbringing 

Raising a child is expensive, whether parents are still together or are living apart. Child support payments provide an avenue to ensure that children are supported financially, no matter the outcome of their parents' divorce.

Each state has its own guidelines for calculating child support, and the court will likely have the final say regarding how parents will manage child support moving forward. That said, courts are generally willing to approve arrangements that parents make between themselves.

When courts consider a child support arrangement for a family, they will consider factors like each parent's income and how parenting time will be shared. If parents come up with their own agreement, the court will review their agreement to see how it stands up against these same factors.

In the end, what matters most to courts in every state is that the arrangements set for child support will uphold the well-being of the children involved and provide them a similar quality of life that they were used to before the divorce. For those reasons, each time a parent pays child support, they are making an effort to maintain a sense of normalcy for their children.  

That said, financial support can only do so much to maintain a sense of "normal" for a child. It's up to the parents to spend those funds responsibly and ensure that the money is allocated to their various needs first and foremost.

More than just maintaining a sense of normal, these payments support a child's desire to explore the world around them and try new things. Taking up an instrument, learning how to build computers, or cultivating an interest in cooking all cost money but are all examples of such valuable hobbies for a growing mind to explore. Child support payments help to support your child's desire to grow and expand their knowledge which could lead to life-long interests and even future careers.

Ensure Their Basic Needs Are Met

Child support payments are to be devoted to all sorts of things that support a child's well-being. They help cover the costs of necessities for children such as clothing, food, and shelter. They also help pay for their education by way of school tuition, supplies, tutors, and even lunch money.

While many times the parent who receives better medical and dental insurance benefits from their employer will cover that for their children, other uninsured medical costs should be paid, at least in part, by funds from child support.

Besides these necessities, child support can help pay for fun activities for children such as extracurriculars, camp costs, and more. Other entertainment-related items like electronics and toys may also be paid for using child support.

Being able to manage the costs involved with all of these things helps to support the well-being of children after divorce as well as promotes a sense of normality after such a profound change in the family. 

Prevent Future Issues

Another reason why parents pay child support is so that they can shield themselves and their family from having to face legal repercussions down the road. Keeping up with these payments helps to promote financial stability in each parent's home, which may help to prevent the need for parents to return to court due to disputes over money.

Courts across the country have measures in place for when a parent does not pay child support. Wage garnishments, driver's license suspension, and even jail time are only a few possible consequences that a parent may face if they do not fulfill their obligation to pay child support.

If you find that you've run into a problem and honestly cannot afford child support payments, you should seek legal guidance from a family law attorney as soon as possible. Only a trained professional can provide you with the best assistance to help you navigate this issue.

More than just legal issues, your child could potentially suffer more personal consequences if one of their parents fails to pay. As a parent, you want your child to be healthy and succeed in everything they set out to do, and these payments should help to support your child in this.

The question as to why pay child support is one that is answered quickly when you consider the well-being of the children involved. They need financial support as they grow into self-sufficient adults. They shouldn't have to face the consequences of not having the help that they need because of issues stemming from their parents.

As a parent paying or receiving child support, your attorney will be able to give you the best guidance and answer questions about child support payments your particular situation. If you are seeking legal assistance, check our Regional Resources guide for family law attorneys and other resources near you.