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The importance of child support for parents and children

Providing support to children is one of the most important responsibilities of parenthood. This means providing assistance and help, both material and emotional, for everything associated with children's lives. As a result, it includes far more than a child's financial needs. It can mean everything from being there for them as they do homework to listening to their problems and encouraging their engagement with anything that is likely to make their lives better both as children and later as adults.

Unfortunately, kids of divorced parents often do not get their financial support needs met. This also has its own emotional elements because children sometimes conclude that they aren't worth much to the parent who will not or cannot meet a financial obligation.

Researchers have found that parents who do provide financial support are demonstrating concern for their children's well-being over large areas of their lives, including the nonfinancial.

Sometimes a failure to pay is deliberate. A parent may refuse out of spite to pay child support or because he or she feels the obligation is unfair. And some parents go out of their way to legally end their support arrangements as soon as their children turn age 18.

Sometimes, though, a parent has financial trouble from losing a job or from having unanticipated expenses such as medical bills. However, this might not matter to a younger child, who is less likely to understand the situation and the reasons why support isn't being paid.

Aside from the strain put on parent-child relationships, failure to make support payments has serious legal consequences. To avoid suffering these ugly results, anyone who has problems making child support payments may have the option of reducing the payments if his or her income or financial circumstances have changed substantially.

Source: The Jewish Press, "Child Support - Dollars And Sense," Yehudit Levinson, July 18, 2013

Joseph J. Porzenski
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