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Why child support obligations are not optional

The relationship between parent and child can be complex. The relationship between parents who are no longer together can be equally complex. Perhaps because these relationships contain so many different potential dynamics, loyalties, emotional responses and connections, the concept of child support can be a uniquely heated one.

Many parents are happy to pay child support and many understand that it is a critical resource for their children. However, child support is not always a straightforward scenario. Sometimes a parent has no interest in supporting a biological child he or she barely knows. Sometimes a parent becomes concerned that child support payments are going directly into financing bad habits or material possessions for the child's co-parent rather than the child. For better and for worse, child support obligations are not optional, even under these complicated circumstances.

Children do not choose to be born under a certain set of circumstances. As such, the law tries to protect their right to adequate support, regardless of how their parents choose to raise them. Quite simply, child support obligations are not optional because the law tries to protect the financial support of children even when child support orders seem to make little sense to the parents making the payments.

There are a limited number of scenarios under which a judge will reduce or eliminate child support obligations. If you feel that your situation may warrant such action, please contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you sort your options out. But most often, parents will be required to continue paying child support even if they do not wish to do so.

Source: Salon, “No, child support can’t be a choice,” Carolyn Edgar, Nov. 7, 2013

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