Child Support Agreement: What Should You Know?

If you are going through divorce or separation and have a child, you must know what you should do. When raising a child, expenses such as school fees, medical, entertainment, shelter, and food, among others, should be expected. That goes even for parents who are to separate. They should share the costs to ensure that the child gets the support they deserve from both parents.

Your child support lawyer should explain all the factors that a court will consider before assigning a particular child support amount. These factors include but are not limited to the parent’s income and their ability to pay, financial requirements of the child, and the need to maintain the child’s existing living conditions.

That said, here is a breakdown of what is covered in child support payments.

Basic Necessities

Food, clothing, and shelter are the most basic requirements of any human being. Your child is no exception as they will require a comfortable and safe place to live, good clothing, and daily meals.

At a bare minimum, child support can purchase food items such as groceries, snacks, drinks, among other feeding items. Under necessities, you will also need to pay for utility bills, lighting, telephone, mortgage, or rent. A child also requires decent clothing to keep them comfortable.

Medical care

Hospital bills are expensive and, thus, must be considered when paying for child support. The court requires that both parents come up with suitable medical insurance for their children. If both parents have employer-covered medical insurance, the parent with better benefits will include the child in their cover for dental, vision, and other medical-related expenses.

Uninsured Medical Expenses

Child support comes in handy whenever you are required to pay for uninsured medical expenses. These expenses can be termed any out-of-pocket cost over and above the allowable limit of a basic insurance plan. The cost may come in the form of surgery fees, deductibles, and co-pays.

Other special healthcare costs may come in braces, eyeglasses, casts, or other special items, particularly for a child with special needs. Most states will require that additional medical care costs be split between the parents according to the state’s laws.

Child Care

dad and daughter

This expense comes when one or both parents cannot take care of their child due to tight work schedules. It also comes in when one parent is the primary caregiver, and they need to take breaks to do other things from time to time.

This covers the cost of nannies, daycare services, babysitters, and other childcare-related expenses and fees. This may also cover childcare requirements during summer break, spring break, and other holidays in between.

Entertainment

Most courts state that every child has a right to basic entertainment. This includes television programs, games, the internet, and access to computers. Entertainment may also include visits to amusement parks, movie theaters, camping trips, among other outdoor activities. Both parents will agree on age-appropriate activities that their child will engage in.

Transportation and Travel

Children need to move from one place to another safely and efficiently. Child support money can be used to cater for traveling and transportation costs. These costs may come in car maintenance, gas fees, registrations, car insurance, bus fare, or any other cost associated with the means of transport used. You may also use child support money to pay for transportation where a child is required to travel to the non-custodial parent.

School Fees

Even if your child is attending a public school, education is not entirely free. There are various fees payments required to support a child. For instance, there are school-related expenses such as school uniforms/school clothes, textbooks, tuition fees, private tutors, and lunch money where necessary.

Education is expensive, and unfortunately for the parents, a court will not let a child suffer because of your divorce or separation. As such, most states will require that the non-custodial parent contributes to fees even if the child has reached the majority age if they attend college and are yet to graduate. The essence of this rule is to ensure that both parents raise a fully educated and independent person who is employable and can run their life smoothly.

In conclusion, every court factor in all the essentials that a child requires determines how much financial support is needed. These details are then noted down in a child support order. However, if there occur significant changes in the child’s needs or one of the parent’s circumstances in terms of income or physical ability, this document may be reviewed. This can be done by filing for a modification in the child support order or contacting a lawyer.

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