Child support is a formal, court ordered, and court-approved way of providing for your child’s physical well-being. In a nuclear family situation where parents provide the necessities for their children, they sometimes must come up with extra money to pay for emergencies, music lessons, sports camps, and special wants or needs that the child has. Supporting the child covers more than just providing the bare necessities, and even parents who are scraping by sometimes go out on a limb to make sure their child has something to make your life better.
When divorce occurs, parents are expected to continue to support their children whether they have custody of them or not. In the state of Washington, there is a calculator that helps determine the percentage of support that each parent is responsible for. The amount each parent has to pay varies if the circumstances change or if the child has additional needs.
What are the Expenses that Child Support Covers?
Child support can be used in the following categories:
- Basic necessities
- (Shelter, food, clothing). Paying the mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, beverages and snacks, clothes, shoes and outerwear.
- Medical care.
- Health insurance, which is often the responsibility of the parent that has health insurance benefits on the job.
- Uninsured medical expenses.
- Co-pays, deductibles, surgery costs, and medical or dental appliances such as braces, glasses, or casts. Parents often split these extra costs.
- Educational fees.
- Fees for public school education, as well as tuition, fees, books, and uniform for a private school.
- Child care.
- Daycare, babysitters, nannies, or other childcare providers for working parents, or to assist special needs children
- Basic entertainment at home through television, the Internet, and games, as well as outings to movie theaters, zoos, amusement parks.
- Extracurricular activities (sports activities, summer camp).
- Activities outside of school hours or during vacation.
- College expenses.
- Tuition, books, room and board, travel.
When the Child Needs More
The percentage of childcare you pay may not be enough to pay for everything that your child needs. Uninsured medical expenses, extracurricular costs, and educational expenses on the secondary or college level are often not included in basic childcare costs unless they are specifically stated in the divorce decree.
Ideally, even divorced parents will work together to provide extra money to pay for what their child requires. This can be difficult when one or both parents have gone on to create new families with their own demands. However, most courts try to keep the same standard of living for the child as if no divorce had occurred. This means that when the child needs more than what the original estimate stated, both parents are expected to dig a little deeper. In the best case, parents can put aside their own interests and contribute reasonable amounts toward what the child needs.
When you need outside help with child support issues after an original divorce decree is issued, contact Weintraub Law Group for a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.