@llyounghitlerll I don’t think courts or government should become involved at all until the issue has been through mediation and an independent review. Both parents should be independently and fairly means tested if they cannot agree on terms of child support at a mediation stage. If the assessment of the independent body* is not agreed to, then the next step would be the court system.
If making contributions towards child support would put someone below the poverty line, it’s reasonable to me that it should be suspended until such time as it is deemed that their financial situation has improved. This would need to be reviewed periodically. A parent is of little use to their children if they’re homeless or in jail.
Both parents should be sharing financial responsibility or contributing as much as they can to the care of their children unless they have agreed that they do not want a support arrangement or an assessment indicates that one is unable to make any payments.
*The existence of a truly unbiased and fair body for determining child support arrangments is what’s missing obviously and would be crucial to making this system actually work for parents. As it is, someone is always at risk of getting the shaft.