When Alaska parents get a divorce or separation, they need to focus on their children. Child support is one of the biggest priorities. It’s important to know who is required to pay.
Who must pay child support?
After a divorce or separation, if children are involved, the court signs off on child custody. In situations where the parents don’t get equal custody or only one parent is granted it, the other is entitled to visitation with the child. Regardless of whether it’s the mother or father who gets sole physical custody, the noncustodial parent is the one obligated to pay child support.
If the parents are unmarried and there is a dispute about paternity, the court might order a DNA test to establish whether the man is the biological father of the child. Only biological or adoptive parents are required to pay child support.
Why is child support necessary?
Child support is necessary in order to ensure that the child’s financial needs are met. Raising a child is expensive and should be shared between both parents. While the custodial parent provides a home and daily care for the child and handles major decisions like their medical, educational and religious needs, the noncustodial must do their part and help financially. Child support payments go toward the following things:
- Food, shelter and clothing
- Medical care and health-related expenses
- Educational expenses
- Extracurricular expenses
Child support amounts are determined based on various factors. This includes the child’s needs, each parent’s income and whether they are supporting other children and the standard of living if the parents have divorced.
When the court orders a parent to pay child support to benefit the child, it’s mandatory. If the parent fails to pay, it means they are breaking the law.