Legal Term Tuesday: Child Support

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Legal Term Tuesday: Child Support

Legal Term Tuesday: Child Support

Justin Lavelle
September 1, 2015

This is the latest entry in BeenVerified’s legal term library designed to help you better understand public record information, criminal records and related terminology. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

In addition to the equitable division of property and an agreement over the need for alimony, issues related to children are often the most time-consuming when finalizing a legal divorce.

If the divorcing spouses cannot come to an agreement over the custody of their children, the court will decide for them based on a variety of factors. Part of a child custody arrangement may be the need for the non-custodial spouse to pay child support.

According to, child support can be generally defined as a parent’s legal obligation to the financial care and costs of raising his or her child or children. In many cases child support can be ordered in the case where an unmarried relationship resulted in children.

Like all facets of divorce law, child support arrangements are determined on a state-by-state basis, so it’s important to understand the specific requirements of your state’s court.

According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex, judges factor in a number of variables when considering a child support arrangement. These include the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay, the needs of the child or children in question, the age of the children and any new circumstances—such as a custodial parent’s new marriage—before making a final decision. Furthermore, child support arrangements can modified over time as any of the above factors change.

Like the laws themselves, the severity of consequences for non-payment of child support can vary greatly by state and include misdemeanor or felony charges. Punishments can include wage garnishment and, in cases of repeat offenders, even jail time, according to the Free Dictionary by Farlex.

Celebrities who have run afoul of child support laws include actor Brendan Fraser, former NBA star Dennis Rodman and rapper/actor Ludacris, according to Madame Noir.

Child support arrangements can be part of a public record if included in an unsealed divorce record. Additionally, any additional open child support cases and any charges related to non-payment penalties will be become part of an individual’s public record, if convicted.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.