The purpose of Child Support is to protect children from the economic impact a divorce, which can affect their standard of living. Child Support is for basic needs that will give the child the same quality of life that the child enjoyed throughout the marriage. This covers typically necessary things such as shelter, groceries, and clothes. That being said there
Child support does not specifically include the following:
- monies owned for a parent’s share of child’s medical expenses;
- Percentage of tuition for private school or college
- Extracurricular activities
While a parent may not be automatically liable for some portion of these costs, if the children were already creating or were expected to develop these sorts of expenses at the time of their parents’ split, it’s difficult to argue that a parent shouldn’t continue to be responsible for some portion of this expense if she or he can afford to help.
A divorcing parent may not be automatically liable for a share of the above cots, however; if the child already incurred these expenses and was anticipating occurring before the parent’s divorce, it’s a tough argument to say that the non-custodial parent should not continue to be responsible for these expenses.
Things like daycare, extracurriculars, medical, and college expenses are addresses as separate parts of the divorcing couple’s separation agreement. This avoids one parent’s refusal to contribute to extracurriculars by saying “this is what I pay child support for,” when that is not necessarily the case. This does not mean that the primary parent is allowed to sign up for the child(ren) for expenses extracurriculars without consulting the other parent. The court will take a “common sense” approach and look at the situation and decide what would be in the child(ren)’s best interest. This is why the language in a separation agreement, addressing these issues, is of vital importance. If the wording simply says “both parents have to agree” one parent could simply say “I don’t agree” to everything and then the issue would have to go back to court. Separation agreements are of the utmost significance as they can cause more harm than good down the line if not worded and appropriately addressed to meet the couple’s needs. That’s everyone needs to consult an attorney experienced in this field who can give their case the individualized attention to find out what needs to be addressed.