According to 2013 estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parents can expect to pay costs totaling more than $245,000 until a child reaches age 18. What’s more, these costs only account for those associated with basic needs like housing, food, childcare and school. In cases where a child needs special medical or dental care or where parents pay for all or a portion of a child’s college tuition, costs are much higher.

There’s no doubt that it’s expensive to raise a child and all children are entitled to recieve financial support from both parents. For parents who have custodial custody of a child, it’s important to explore options related to obtaining child support.

When parents divorce, matters related to child custody must be decided and the outcome of such decisions will help determine which parent may be entitled to child support. For unwed parents, legal action must be taken to establish paternity before any determinations about child custody or support can be made.

In cases where one parent is named the custodial parent, he or she can file to receive child support. In cases where parents share equal custody of a child, the higher income earner may be ordered to pay child support to help account for any financial dispaerities that exist between households.

Child support amounts vary and are determined by factors including the incomes of both parents and a child’s needs. In cases where disputes related to child support payments arise, it’s wise to seek legal guidence. Child support orders can be legally enforced and support amounts can be modified. An attorney who handles family law matters can assist.

Source:, “Child Support Basics,” Feb. 22, 2014