Child support issues often create the cornerstone of many divorce cases, no matter the reason for the split. However, despite efforts from family courts, CBS News reported that nearly $10 billion in child support money is currently unpaid to those who have sole or partial custody of a child.

If you need to establish or adjust child support payments with the courts, there are several questions you might ask to ensure both you and your child are treated fairly.

Custody details 

In most divorce cases involving children, judges usually determine custody based on a variety of factors, including:

  • The decisions you and your spouse make jointly
  • The stability of a parent’s home
  • Whether you or your spouse have been the primary caretaker

Your local court may encourage you and your spouse to work out custody details and agreements with an attorney or third-party arbitrator.

The number of children 

If you and your spouse have more than one child, your ex will likely have to pay an amount that reflects the need for each. For example, if you have three children, the parent paying child support will typically pay for medical care, schooling and school supplies, clothing and, in some cases, college tuition. The court may adjust these payments if your ex also pays for other children from a previous marriage.

A child’s special needs 

If you have a child with a mental or physical disability, the courts may take his or her needs into account while creating a child support payment plan. You can submit a list of these requirements to your lawyer to ensure proper compensation.

Your local court may have its own procedures for determining child support payments, but learning the fundamentals may help prevent underpayment.