Child custody is an ever-changing process as each family’s needs evolve over time. This means that the original custody and support orders might not always work best for the family and that changes need to be made. When one parent takes over the main custodial responsibility from another parent, both the custody order and the financial support order may require changes.
The purpose of child support
The responsibility for meeting a child’s financial needs, whether related to education, overall health or interests, falls on both parents even if one is the main custodial parent and the other has visitation rights. The parent who spends the most time caring for a child might receive financial support from the other parent to collaborate with the costs related to child-rearing. Courts establish child support amounts looking at a variety of factors that can include:
- Both parents’ income
- The financial needs of the child, including childcare, medical needs, education and extracurricular activities
- Where the child spends most of their time
What happens to child support when custody changes
When the parent who is the main caretaker changes, the financial support order should be halted, and a new order should be issued. The parent who formerly received financial support might now pay support to the other parent who has become the main caretaker.
If no support order was in place before, the court must issue an official order, which might include back payments for when the custody changed but the child support order had not yet been in place. If a new order is not issued, then the non-custodial parent is not legally obligated to pay support.
In a child custody situation, losing financial support can have a significant impact on the quality of life for your child. Ensuring that the support order is either modified or issued as needed should be addressed in a timely manner.