Raising kids is expensive, and paying for the cost of a child's care is the responsibility of both parents. These are the fundamental concepts behind child support, which is the means through which a non-custodial parent contributes to the cost of caring for his or her child. That said, child support is a far more complex matter than simple equations and laws might suggest. There are many cases in which a degree of compassion is the best way to ensure that a child in Virginia is provided with what he or she needs.
To begin, it should be made clear that there are cases in which a non-custodial parent makes absolutely no effort to meet his or her child support obligations. That is a set of circumstances that deserves no compassion, and in which every effort should be made to compel that parent to pay. However, there are many parents who have every intention of contributing to the financial needs of their children, but are simply unable to do so.
In such cases, the custodial parent should make an effort to approach the situation with understanding and with an eye toward finding a solution. The non-custodial parent must also do his or her part and make every effort to pay as much of the child support obligation as possible. Both should focus on the needs of the child or children they share and look for ways to reduce costs yet meet those needs until the financial scenario becomes more stable.
It can be difficult to take a collaborative approach when there is a child support shortfall. It is important to understand, however, that choosing an overly aggressive stance is very likely to drive even more of a wedge between parents, making effective co-parenting difficult. In some cases, Virginia parents can even be jailed for failure to pay child support, which only serves to remove that parent from the workforce, further weakening his or her ability to help support a shared child.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Eliminating Child Support Debt by Improving Relationships", Mark Echols, March 4, 2016