When parents separate or divorce, they have a legal obligation to split financial responsibility in raising their children. Determining child support during separation or divorce is an important process that can also become a big source of conflict in case the parents don’t agree on what expenses should be covered or how to handle the situation. However, parents should know some basic things including understanding state laws regarding child support payments and how they’re determined.
One should always consult a family law professional for insight into specific laws in your state. No matter the circumstances, parents should split the responsibility of raising their children accordingly and try to handle the situation so it doesn’t affect the children’s emotions.
If you want to understand what exactly child support covers look below for more information.
What does child support cover?
Raising a child nowadays can be quite expensive, especially considering educational and healthcare costs. However, what does child support cover exactly? Since child support laws vary among states, it is important to follow the child support guidelines depending on where you live to be able to determine your child support coverage. Here are some of the common expenses that might be included in a child support obligation.
The basics of child support include necessities like food, clothing, and a safe place to live. The support is used to purchase groceries including snacks and beverages. In addition, it’s used to purchase appropriate clothing and follows payments for the child’s related shelter costs including telephone, rent, and utility bills.
Medical care and expenses
Divorced or separated parents should carry some form of health insurance for their child, and usually, the parent with better employee-covered benefits is required to carry the medical, dental, and other insurance plans. It may also pay for uninsured or “extraordinary” medical expenses such as any out-of-the-pocket medical costs exceeding the cost of a basic healthcare insurance plan including deductibles, co-pays, and surgery costs.
Even if a child is attending public school, there are several costs needed to support school-aged children. Child support is used to pay for many school-related needs including school uniforms, textbooks, tuition fees, lunch money, and private tutors. In some instances, child support may also be used to pay for a child’s college expenses.
In case one or both parents are not able to care for their children due to work-related issues, child support can cover the costs of childcare expenses including babysitters, daycare services, or other childcare costs. The coverage may also include childcare during some holidays, spring break, and summer months.
Child support can also be used to pay for basic transportation costs as well as travel costs. The coverage includes costs for maintaining a car such as gas fees, registration, car payments, and insurance. Other costs covered by child support include the cost to ride a bus or other forms of public transport. For example, costs covered by child support also include traveling to visit the noncustodial parent in another area.
Entertainment and extracurricular activities
Some child support coverage also includes basic entertainment such as access to computers, the Internet, TV programs, and games, as well as amusement parks, movie theaters, and other outings. Per the parents’ agreement, child support can be used for a child’s age-appropriate entertainment desires. Also, it incorporates extracurricular activities such as after-school classes, sports activities, summer camp, and other non-school-related activities.
How to calculate child support and when does it end?
There are usually 3 main factors associated with calculating child support payments including the income of the paying parent, the number of children, and the province they live in. These are the starting points when calculating child support, but they can be adjusted depending on the parenting agreement.
Some state laws, such as Ontario law addresses that it is the parent’s responsibility to pay child support for as long as the child remains dependent. They’re considered dependent if they still live with either of the parents, are unmarried, are pursuing education full-time, or have an illness or disability preventing them from becoming independent. However, when the child reaches the age of majority, it is common for support payments to end although this can be altered by various factors.
Every country has different laws regarding child support, so the best thing would be to consult with an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process. Often, child support issues are resolved by agreement with some legal advice. Remember, the livelihood of the children is what’s most important, so make sure you take the right steps to provide a happy and comfortable home for them.