As a family law attorney, some of the most common questions I deal with address child support. Specifically, non-custodial parents often ask, "Why do I owe so much money in support?" The short answer, of course, is because the Court has determined that the child or children are entitled to that amount of money for their benefit. However, this answer is not usually satisfactory and typically results in the parent saying something to the effect of, "Well, my ex just keeps the money and doesn't even use it on my child/children."
While the use of the money by the custodial parent is not overseen by the court, as it would be impossible to monitor each case individually, the amount provided to the custodial parent typically pales in comparison to the amount the non-custodial parent would contribute to the family if it were still in tact. For example, if mother and father make a combined $5,000 (with each earning $2,500) per month and father has custody of their child every other weekend, he will be obligated to pay support in the amount of $472.00 per month. This calculation, of course, is very simple and doesn't take into account various intricacies of the formula, but it paints a general picture of how much a person might owe in a very common custody arrangement.
Now, $472.00 may seem like a lot of money upon first glance. However, when compared with the daily expenses associated with keeping a family, a few hundred dollars does not go very far. Many clients actually find themselves with more disposable income after a support order is entered than they had when taking care of an in-tact family. Before becoming upset at the amount of a support order, be careful to consider two things, (1) the purpose of the support order is to provide your child with the best life possible and (2) you might be in a better financial position with the order in place than if you were paying for all of your child's expenses as they come due.
Contact my Pittsburgh law firm, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, with any child support and child custody questions.