Although there are many issues that a divorcing couple can greatly disagree about, issues about their children can bring about the most contention. Child support, in particular, can cause much resentment, as our own personal injury lawyers know especially if your child has been injured at any point and time. The following is a brief overview of child support and extra expenses from a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A.
When it comes to child support, both parents can be unhappy about the final child support order. The receiving parent may feel that the paying parent is not paying nearly enough, while the paying parent may feel they are paying way too much. They often feel that the court is unfair to them because they provide for their children in other ways. These other costs can include paying for clothes, diapers, or a portion of daycare fees. They may also pay for some of the extracurricular activities. These extra expenses are often arrangements the parents made with each other before the court issued their child support order.
While every parent should provide for his or her own child, sometimes providing beyond the ordered child support can cause a parent to fall short in supporting other children born in a marriage or relationship that comes after the first child is born. In these cases, if the extra costs are not court-ordered, the parent may choose to stop providing them, and instead, just pay the court-ordered child support. However, this may not necessarily end the parent’s requirement to provide assistance with these costs.
Every state has its own formula for calculating child support. In some states, child support is set according to a statutory formula that awards a certain percentage of a parent’s net income depending on the number of children to be supported. In other states, an income shares model is used that uses both parents’ income to come to calculate an amount that provides the child with a lifestyle akin to what it would have been if the parents still lived together.
A judge has to have a good reason, and find it in the best interest of the child in order to deviate from the statutory guidelines. However, in many states, the parent receiving support can also ask for additional assistance with costs related to child care, and medical costs beyond those covered through health insurance, educational costs, and extracurricular activities. Support for these costs above the child support amount can be granted if the court finds such costs reasonable.
Additionally, if the parent ordered to pay child support has access to employer provided health insurance, he may be ordered by the court to provide insurance coverage for his child through the employer, and, if he fails to do so, may be ordered to reimburse the other parent for up to 50 percent of the health insurance costs incurred by that parent.
There are numerous costs that may not necessarily be covered through child support, and a parent who provides “extra” beyond the court-ordered amount may not actually be paying more than he should.