Child Support Rights For Fathers


It is no longer uncommon for North Carolina fathers to be awarded primary physical custody of their children. In the past, mothers often took the role of primary caregiver, which meant that custody and child support went to the mother in the case of a divorce. Now, however, a mother might prefer to pursue a career and allow the father to handle primary care responsibilities. Perceptions related to fathers seeking child support in such a situation can vary.

Some believe that a father should not request child support if they have the means to effectively care for their child on their own. One of the main reasons for this view is the fact that salaries for women continue to be lower than for men, which means that a support obligation could put undue stress on a woman’s budget. Others believe that a father should request child support in certain situations. Examples might include those who have low-paying jobs or those who are faced with limited resources related to disability.

Legal issues can come into play as state child support guidelines are considered. For example, a custodial parent who requests food assistance or other public aid might be required in some states to pursue child support in order to be eligible for such programs. In other cases, a judge might order support to be paid by a non-custodial parent. This amount may be computed based on the incomes of both parents with special attention given to those with, particularly low or high earnings.

A parent’s financial circumstances could change for the better or worse over time. If the payer’s financial stability is undermined because of a job change or layoff, it would be important to promptly move for a modification of the existing support order to minimize the potential for falling into arrears. Family law attorneys will advise clients who are in this situation that any modification would only be prospective and would not have any effect on past due amounts.