How much child-support will be paid if we separate?
Default answer: The father will pay.
And the judge will decide how much.
When married people start having children,
they usually do not think that they will ever divorce.
But about half of them later become divorced parents.
The law steps in where parents have not had the foresight
to plan for supporting their children if and when they separate.
Fathers are required by law to support their
even if the parents are not married.
And if they were married but are now getting divorced,
the judge will probably give custody to the mother
and order the father to pay a certain amount of child-support each
In the United States, the proportion of a
that must be paid to support his children
has been set by various state legislatures.
The formula depends on the father's income
and the number of children he must support.
It begins at about 25% of the father's take-home pay for one child.
However, even when the judge orders specific
the mother often does not get exactly that amount.
After a few months, the father finds various excuses
for paying less—or not paying at all.
Some states have tried to correct this by suspending various licenses
of parents who do not pay their court-ordered child-support.
But such systems would have to become national (or even international)
to prevent reluctant parents from moving to another jurisdiction
in order to avoid supporting their children.
Creative answers: If you are thinking of having children,
you should weigh the complete cost of raising them
—both within marriage and if any marriage comes to an end.
Just how much of your income should you pay to
raise your child?
And for each additional child born or adopted,
how much will this percentage increase?
How long will you continue to support your children?
Child-rearing costs will continue whether you stay married or not.
Even if you end your relationship with the other parent,
you will continue to be the parent of your children.
78 DESIGNER MARRIAGE: WRITE YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP
CONTRACT by James Park
have the first page of Question 14 from Designer
The next 3 pages explore other possibilities for child-support.
April 5, 2009; Revised