When the courts decide upon child support amounts, they use several factors and even formula calculations, taking into account each parent’s earnings along with the needs of the child. The intention of child support during divorce is to ensure that the child’s needs are being sufficiently met. Each parent should be contributing fairly, whether they are paying into child support or have custody and are raising the children. During divorce, it is common for parents to negotiate a child support agreement.
The Leading Factor: Supporting the Child
Regardless of how the parents feel about each other during the divorce, the wellbeing of the child will take precedence. If the court imposes on one or both parents to contribute monetarily to the children’s needs, then they will have to abide by this until further notice. Parents who are caught up in an emotional battle with their partner during divorce may forget that visitation, custody, and child support are all different matters in the eyes of the court. Even if the children don’t stay with you as often as you’d like, this doesn’t mean you are exempt from paying support to the other parent.
What Child Support Helps Pay For
While the laws for child support vary by state, there is a general list of basic needs that must be met. Keep in mind that while the court may use a formula to calculate how much is paid in child support, they can increase or decrease this as they feel appropriate, based on influencing factors. Of course, the court doesn’t want to put either parent in financial hardship due to paying child support. However, the health of the child will come first. Here are examples of basic needs that are funded through child support payments:
Clothing: child support funds can be used to purchase shoes and clothing. The spouse is not permitted to use this money for their own apparel.
Food: the parent receiving child support must use that money to buy groceries or eat out occasionally.
Education: child support can be used to pay for educational fees, supplies, textbooks, uniforms, lunches, and anything else related. Children who must have special education due to a mental/physical impairment may benefit from getting home schooled or attending a school that can cater to these needs.
Medical Care: child support is likely to be used so the parent with custody can afford healthcare premiums for their child including copayments, treatments, medicine, equipment, and deductibles.
Other: reasonable expenses that may be funded through child support include things like travel, extracurricular activities, hobbies, summer camps, sports, music interests, and entertainment.
Childcare: depending on the child’s age, he or she may need to go to child care while the custodial parent is at work. The noncustodial parent may have to help pay for these expenses, so that the children can be safe while a parent is working. Child support can be used to cover costs for daycare, babysitters, nannies, or preschool.