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Child support can be about more than dollars in the bank

The issue of money is often a contentious one. During divorce proceedings, it can become an even greater source of contention when the division of marital assets begins. Unfortunately, children can also become the subject of financial disputes when child support enters the equation. To California residents, it can sometimes seem as though a non-custodial parent is seen only as a source of financial support and not as a person who can contribute to lives of his or her children in other ways.

A recent case made for interesting reading. Rather than pursuing her ex-husband for child support arrears totalling almost $40,000, a mother instead approached the courts to have the debt written off. Having considered, from all angles, the impact of the arrears, and also the impact of the pursuit of them, she made the decision that it would be detrimental to the welfare of her children to turn their father into a criminal.

She had been aware that, for some time, her ex-husband's financial position did not allow him to pay the amount of child support ordered by the court. He had suffered from periods of under-employment and also unemployment, but he had always maintained a continuous presence in his children's lives. From her viewpoint, it was more important for the children to respect that continued involvement, rather than see him as merely a financial provider. She recognized that his position had been one of genuine monetary disadvantage, rather than stemming from an unwillingness to contribute.

This was indeed a unique case, albeit one to which many parents may be able to relate. California parents are entitled to seek financial contributions toward child support from non-custodial parents, but it may be wise, in certain situations, to distinguish between ability and intent. A parent who simply wishes to avoid financial responsibility is perhaps more likely to avoid providing other support. In such circumstances, there are various options available in order to ensure that a fair and reasonable level of monetary support is provided on a regular basis.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Why This Woman Forgave Her Ex For The Thousands He Owed In Child Support", Kira Brekke, April 22, 2015

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