As a long-standing family law firm serving Livermore and Bay Area families, we have watched many parents struggle with child support issues. Most of the time, both parents want to do right by their children, but feelings of inequity or financial betrayal may muddy the waters. When this happens, the spirit of mutual cooperation crumbles, leaving parents bewildered and children hurt.
In our practice, we have seen how divorcing parents lose sight of the mission behind the child support system: Both parents contributing to the care and financial well-being of the children. Two scenarios in which the system has failed are discussed below.
-- The paying parent struggles to meet his or her child support obligations while the custodial parent makes few contributions. The custodial parent must remember that he or she is not exempt from a share of the responsibility. This could be working part time or, if possible, staying with the children to ensure the home environment remains healthy and stress-free.
-- The paying parent refuses to pay, forcing the custodial parent to take on extra jobs. Even though having to pay child support is often challenging and may feel unfair, doing your part ensures a healthy home environment. By not paying, you are taking much needed parenting time away from your children.
The ideal approach to child support on both sides of the coin is to remember that whatever judgment a court hands down is always intended to help the children. Child support is not a punishment for the paying parent, nor is it a continuous free lunch for the custodial parent.
To sum it up as succinctly as possible, it takes two parents to support, love and raise healthy children. The California court system is ready to work with parents who have ongoing child support issues. Please visit our family law website to learn how a family law attorney can help.