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Actor ordered to pay child support to noncustodial parent

For some families in Tennessee, monthly budgets do not only involve food, clothing, and other necessities. Some parents find themselves including child support payments into their budget. Typically during the divorce process, the couple will come to an agreement about custody and support in the best interests of the children.

Usually, child support payments are paid to the custodial parent in order to help with the everyday expenses of raising a child. But recently, a high-profile custody case involving child support resulted in an unusual outcome.

Well-known for his role on the television show "Two and a Half Men," actor Jon Cryer had been in a child support dispute with his ex-wife for several years. He wanted to stop paying child support to his former wife even though he agreed to pay several thousand dollars a month when the two were first divorced.

Just recently an appeals court ruled that he would have to continue making child support payments. Why is this odd? For most, the court ruling was strange because Cryer has custody of the child. Though his ex-wife had been given custody after the divorce, their son was removed from her custody after another child she had with her second husband was hurt while in her care.

The Court reasoned that requiring Cryer to continue the payments would be in the best interests of the child involved. It was noted that the monthly payment would not impact his financial situation; however if the payments were stopped his ex-wife would be unable to support herself.

Does the ruling seem fair? For most people, making additional monthly payments would impact the financial situation of the household. Does it make sense to order someone to pay child support for someone who no longer has custody of the child? Isn't the very nature of child support to help with the costs of raising a child? Should the payments instead be paid as spousal support?

Source: Courthouse News Service: "Cryer's Ex-Wife Can Keep Child Support, Not Child," Jeff D. Gorman, Aug. 31, 2011

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