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When can mothers be ordered to pay child support?

Let's face it, child support payments are largely paid by men. Fathers who are not primary custodial parents and commonly have a higher income than mothers who need the support payments to defray the costs of raising a child. However, this does not mean that all fathers will be ordered to pay support in the midst of a divorce or in a custody action between unmarried parents.

In fact, there are mothers who are ordered to pay child support. Perhaps the most famous example is Halle Berry, who has an obligation to pay support to her ex-boyfriend to help in raising their daughter. As part of her obligation, she is required to pay for their daughter's school tuition payments, as well as his attorney's fees.

The example also is a prime description of how California law works in determining child support. In a nutshell, the court will review both parents' incomes to determine what could be described as the available income for child support. Based on each parent's respective percentage of that available income and other factors, such as the amount of parenting time ordered, whether spousal maintenance is ordered and whether a parent has an additional support obligation for a non-joint child, a parent could be ordered to pay support.

In some circumstances, the calculations will be such that a mother will end up being responsible for support. If you are contemplating divorce and have questions about whether you will be ordered to pay child support, an experienced family law attorney can help.

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