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A way out of the child support quagmire?

It seems simple enough. The amount of child support is set, more or less, by a statutory formula in Illinois. The math is not that complex, for most people. The support is paid to help children. Even in this discordant world, few subjects seem more likely to win the support (no pun) of people, than children do. Yet, the topic of child support is likely to spawn a vitriolic debate, with partisans from each side using emotionally laden anecdotes to make their point.

The basic facts lay out the problem. A couple has children. They get divorced. There is one custodial parent. The non-custodial parent has to pay the custodial parent child support. Non-custodial resents making payments.

At this point in the scenario, there is an infinite variation on how the facts play out. Surely there must be a better way. Perhaps. A software company has a new product that may make this relationship a slight bit less problematic.

The program tracks the spending by both parties, building a clear picture of the actual cost of taking care of the children. The parents enter their payments and expenditures, creating a real-time record, and showing what each parent owes or is owed.

It even allows extra expenses to be accounted for, and while it cannot force a parent to make payments, the creation of a dispassionate record of payments and expenses may help diffuse some of the provocative allegations that each parent may be tempted to hurl at the other.

No one really benefits from conflicts that arise out of child support disputes. Because of the sensitive nature of the child support relationship, anything that can remove flashpoints and triggers to conflict, such as this program, could help many parents achieve a better co-parenting relationship. 

Source: Xconomy, "Using Tech to De-Stress Child Support," Bernadette Tansey, November 5, 2013

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