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I think I qualify to receive child support — how can I be sure?

When parents divorce in California, one of the couple’s chief concerns may be settling a child custody arrangement that is preferably in the best interest of any children involved. Once child custody has been determined, child support is usually addressed. However, with changing parental roles often affecting how child support is determined, fixing an appropriate level of child support may not be as simple as it once was.

Perhaps the easiest way to determine whether a parent is eligible to receive child support from the other parent is to see who is the custodial parent. Generally, this is the parent that maintains physical custody. That individual typically makes decisions concerning the overall well-being of a child, including childcare arrangements and providing meals and housing. The custodial parent is usually eligible to receive child support payments.

When it comes to joint custody, determining child support may not be as easy, as a child will often spend a more equal amount of time with both parents. There are situations that will still call for one parent to pay child support to the other, such as a disparity in income. This may be particularly applicable if one parent was a stay-at-home parent during the course of the marriage.

As child support is often integral to the financial stability and security necessary for raising a child, establishing which parent is owed what can be a crucial aspect of any California parents’ divorce settlement. While issues such as child support are often settled prior to a divorce being finalized, life-changes that occur following a divorce may have an impact on child support. In instances when this occurs, it is possible to petition the court for a change in child support to more accurately reflect who may be eligible for child support as well as the other parent’s ability to pay.

Source: FindLaw, “Are You Eligible for Child Support?“, , Sept. 5, 2014