More families fight about child support than not. One parent usually thinks he or she is "paying" tooo much and the other thinks he or she is not getting enough. It is true that sometimes both of these statements accurately describe some pretty difficult and "unfair" situations. It is also true that the kids always lose in these arguments.
Court battles based solely on money have ruinous consequences. I experience first hand how parents' money disputes effect children. I see the tears of financial abandonment and parental estrangement due to another parents retribution for non-payment. Some parents fight about who should pay how much and who should go to work. Seldom is the question raised: Who should stay home with the children? Little consideration is given to the worth of the stay at home parent. Few times is the arrangement made for the children based on what these two parents might have done for their children if still married. For example, expenditures including extra-curricular activities, sports, school costs, summer camp, driving and college must be considered.
Others fight about money through custody disagreements. Some custody evaluations are for the veiled purpose of obtaining the maximum child custody in order to avoid or reduce child support payments. What's best for the child is not the paramount issue.
It seems for some that the decision to leave their spouse means freedom from financial responsibility to their children. Our culture, unfortunately, tolerates this point of view. Many of us honor our parental duties and raise our children with the money we earn. However a large group hides from moral responsibilities, feigning unemployment or under-reporting income. Others refuse to pay, move away, or deny paternity. Granted, there are those who receive child support and misappropriate the funds or commit other unacceptable behaviors concerning money and visitation for their children.
Here is a guide for collecting child support in California. It is not meant to be legal advice.
Remember, child support is IN THE CHILD'S BEST INTEREST! We all must do what we can to assure our children have the best we can offer.
Jessica St. Clair, MS, MFT, is a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor with over thirty years experience working with families and children. She is a therapist, credentialed teacher and qualified child custody evaluator. Jessica has worked with hundreds of families to prepare them for custody evaluations as ordered by the Court. Jessica is a woman of great empathy and has helped many children cope with the turmoil divorce creates in their lives. Jessica practices in Newport Beach and Santa Ana, Ca. She is the leader of Planet Divorce and Parenting Wizards, both joint projects of Divorce Wizards, Inc. and Child Custody Consultants. You may reach Jessica St. Clair at 714-568-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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