Child Custody and Support Newsletters
Courts may use the legal process of attachment to separate property, whether real or personal and place it under the control of the court when the owner of the property fails to comply with his or her child support obligation. In some circumstances it may also be used to bring a person before the court, compel an appearance, or arrest a fund in the hands of a third person who may be liable to pay it over to the court.
Federal law requires each state to adopt some form of child support guidelines. Courts in each state are required to follow the guidelines in establishing child support obligations.
In some circumstances a tribunal may decide that it is in the best interests of a child to modify the amount of a parent's child support obligation. More often, the modification results in an increase in the amount of support, but there are occasions when a court has found a reason to deviate downwards.
Problems arise where a parent and a child do not reside in the same state. To deal with jurisdictional problems in establishing and enforcing child support obligations, the federal government enacted the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act in the 1950s. Although it has been mostly replaced by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, enacted in 1998, URESA still applies in some situations.
When determining the amount of a child support order, the first step is to ascertain the amount of income that is available to provide for the child. Determining this issue will generally determine the fairness of any child support order. An effective child support guideline should clearly provide rules for determining what resources may and may not be considered for child support determinations. If a child is receiving social security benefits, a child support order should clearly state whether this income is considered in determining the appropriate amount of child support.