When Are You Required to Pay Child Support?


Quick Answer

All states recognize and enforce court orders for child support following divorces, according to FindLaw. Even if parents make their own agreement about child support, family courts determine the terms, including the amount of child support payments, who pays the child support and the payment schedules.

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Full Answer

Unmarried parents who separate still retain legal obligations to provide financial support to children born into the relationships, notes FindLaw. Proving paternity of unmarried fathers includes a father's declaration of parenthood or DNA testing, both of which result in the child support obligation of the non-custodial parent. In some cases, court orders require both parents to pay child support to a third party when neither parent has legal custody.

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