It is very common for children today to be raised by one parent. A quarter of children under the age of 18 are raised without a father, and 40 percent of children are born to mothers who at the time are single. This means that child support can be an essential part of ensuring that a parent is able to support their children, so it's important for many parents to know how the law handles child support.
In situations where the parents of a child were never married, the issue of paternity may arise. A court cannot order child support unless it has been proven that the man being asked to pay is the father of the child. Mothers are normally able to go to a local child support enforcement office to obtain help establishing paternity.
The office of child support enforcement is also helpful in that people can require payments be made through this office. When payments must go through the child support enforcement office, it creates a record. The office can also provide assistance in the event the payments are late and not made at all. A failure to pay court-ordered support can result in serious consequences, including wage garnishment and in some cases jail time.
The amount of child support that is ordered is often based upon guidelines that take parental income and other factors into account. However, there are often situations where the financial circumstances of the party who has been ordered to pay change adversely. In those instances, a family law attorney can often assist in requesting a modification from the court that issued the original order.