In family law and public policy, child support (or child maintenance) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Child maintenance is paid directly or indirectly by an obligor to an obligee for the care and support of children of a relationship that has been terminated, or in some cases never existed. Often the obligor is a non-custodial parent. The obligee is typically a custodial parent, a caregiver, a guardian, or the state.
Depending on the jurisdiction, a custodial parent may pay child support to a non-custodial parent. Typically one has the same duty to pay child support irrespective of sex, so a mother is required to pay support to a father just as a father must pay a mother. Where there is joint custody, the child is considered to have two custodial parents and no non-custodial parents, and a custodial parent with a higher income (obligor) may be required to pay the other custodial parent (obligee).
Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related matters and domestic relations, including:
This list is not exhaustive and varies depending on jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions in the United States, the family courts see the most crowded dockets. Litigants representative of all social and economic classes are parties within the system.
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics.
The behavior of people (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with some behavior being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable limits. In sociology, behavior in general is characterised as having no meaning, being not directed at other people, and thus is the most basic human action. Behavior in this general sense should not be mistaken with social behavior, which is a more advanced action, as social behavior is behavior specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behavior depends heavily upon social norms and is regulated by various means of social control. Human behavior is studied by the specialised academic disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
Child custody and guardianship are legal terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and the parent's duty to care for the child.
Following ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in most countries, terms such as "residence" and "contact" (known as "visitation" in the United States) have superseded the concepts of "custody" and "access". Instead of a parent having "custody" of or "access" to a child, a child is now said to "reside" or have "contact" with a parent. For a discussion of the new international nomenclature, see parental responsibility.
A noncustodial parent is a parent who does not have physical and/or legal custody of his/her child by court order.
A "child-custody determination" means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual. Where the child will only live with one of the parents, sole physical custody is ordered, and the parent with which the child lives is the custodial parent, the other parent is the non-custodial parent.
The law governing child support in the United States varies state-by-state and tribe-by-tribe among Native Americans; each individual state and federally recognized tribe is responsible for developing its own guidelines for determining child support. In the US, child support is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made directly or indirectly by an ("obligor" or paying parent or payer) to an ("obligee" or receiving party or recipient) for the financial care and support of children of a relationship or a possibly terminated marriage. Typically the obligor is a non-custodial parent. Typically the obligee is a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, or a government agency. In the U.S., there is no gender requirement to child support, for example, a father may pay a mother or a mother may pay a father. In addition, where there is joint custody, in which the child has two custodial parents and no non-custodial parents, a custodial parent may be required to pay the other custodial parent.
The United States has an overarching federal government framework. The child support program is the responsibility of the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal IV-D Regulations require uniform application of child support guidelines throughout a state, but each state can determine its own method of calculating support. At a minimum, 45 C.F.R. 302.56 requires each state to establish and publish a Guideline that is presumptively (but rebuttably) correct, and review the guideline, at a minimum, every four years. Most states have therefore adopted their own "Child Support Guidelines Worksheet" which local courts and state Child Support Enforcement Offices use for determining the "standard calculation" of child support in that state. Courts may choose to deviate from this standard calculation in any particular case.