Raising children is expensive so it is important that both parents be involved in assisting financially, regardless of the relationship status of the parents or the specific custody arrangement. When married parents divorce or when a parent who was never married to the other seeks child support, a judge will often order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. However, the prevalence of child support disputes among parents often means that county or state agencies need to get involved.
The expenses associated with raising a child are exactly what make child support disputes so contentious. The parent seeking the support often feels that he or she cannot financially sustain the burden of raising a child without the monetary support of the other parent. In contrast, the parent from whom support is sought often feels that he or she is being used for money or is forced to pay more than is feasible. Sometimes, as with the case of an Arizona Cardinals player, paternity is the root of the child support controversy.
Divorce can bring on a whole host of contested legal issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody. Perhaps one of the most disputed aspects of a divorce is child support. Reaching a child support settlement can be difficult, and many times must be argued for or against in front of a judge. Once a final determination is made, issues may arise when payments are incomplete or missing. The child may suffer as a result, and a failure to pay child support may lead to penalties for the owing parent.