One of the greatest battles of this generation is the battle over child support. This process stretches from agreeing to what would be considered as fair payments and can be a challenge for divorced couples. Issues such as the payment structure, cost of health care and other aspects of the arrangement. To be fair, when it comes to the issue of child support, the amount paid ought to go beyond what was agreed among both parties. It should be a core function of the unique needs of the children. But then, there are times when such needs may seem exorbitant. At that stage, it becomes important to get an idea of what the cost should be and get the right numbers that should help with the negotiations.
How much does child support cost?
Data from the USDA indicates that it cost $233,000 on average to bring up a child to age eighteen. This is the age in which child support terminates. This figure encompasses clothing, shelter, food, education, and healthcare. If this amount is further broken down, it will show you a figure of $12,900 per year meaning $1,000 each month. If this is divided by both parents, it would give you a figure of $500 per month to bring up the child. This does not, however, mean that we would get payment figures that are exactly $500. The reason for this is that the system is hinged on the father being the breadwinner. This means that the system sees the father as being more responsible for the upkeep of the child than the mother. The parameters used in calculating the child support payments are such that they could see the amounts exceeding or falling below the amount.
What Is Child Support?
In the eyes of the public, child support is simply a continuous payment that takes place periodically and is made by a child’s parent as a result of divorce. This payment is either paid indirectly or directly to an obligee by an obligatory for the support of a child that is the result of a terminated union or even never existed. The obligor is in most cases a parent who doesn’t have custody of the child. The obligee, on the other hand, is often a guardian, custodial parent or the state.
In some instances, a custodial parent may also pay child support to a non-custodial parent. The payment of child support is without prejudice to the gender of both parties. One is typically obliged to pay child support irrespective of their sex. Hence a mother ought to pay child support to a father and vice versa. In family law, child support is often arranged as a component of marital separation, divorce, annulment and may also support spousal support.
What Are The Things Covered By Child Support
There is an increase in the misconceptions held by critics of child support as regards what it should cover. Some believe it should cover things like food, clothing and the likes. Practically speaking, child support consists of things such as medical care, necessities, childcare, educational fees, entertainment, college expenses, and other activities.
Typical Expenses Covered By Child Support
In this current dispensation, the inherent cost of bringing up a child is often quite high. This is especially considering factors such as the ever-rising cost of healthcare and education. Below we give you a list of some things that ought to be included in the arrangement for child support.
1. Clothing, food, and shelter
Food, clothing, and shelter are core necessities for children. Child support should at least be useful enough to procure beverages, snacks, and other necessary food items. You may also use it to buy jackets, shoes and other clothing. It should also be noted that child support payments cover payments for the shelter of the child such as rent, telephone, and other bills.
2. Medical expenses
The majority of states often make it a requirement for separated parents to register for health insurance for their child. The parent that has the employee benefits would be required to be in charge of the dental, medical and vision insurance plan. In the case of uninsured medical expenses, child support may be used to pay for such expenses. Some typical examples of these types of expenses include the out of pocket costs for expenses that exceed the insurance coverage. This includes deductibles, co-pays, and the cost of surgery. In several instances, child support could also be used in covering all of the outlined expenses. Depending on the provisions of the state, parents are compelled to divide the added costs of medical care.
3. Educational expenses and child care
It is a fact that education is not free over here. And if your child is attending a public school, there are some costs and expenses that are required from your child. In this case, child support may be used to pay for school-related expenses like tuition fees, uniforms, lunch money, and private tutors. In a situation where the parents are not able to take care of the child due to work commitments, the child support cost has to be enough to cover the charge of a childcare provider. Also, the cost of child care during the summer and holidays may be added to the cost of child support.
4. Extracurricular activities and entertainment
It is widely held that a child is entitled to some basic form of entertainment which includes among other television programs, computers, the internet, games, and visits to the amusement parks, movies and trips. It, therefore, suffices to say that child support may be used to take care of the entertainment appropriate for the child. The support may also cover the extracurricular activities which the child engages in especially those that happen outside the regular schooling hours. These include summer camps, after school activities and clubs.
5. College fees
In certain cases, child support may also be used in paying for the college expenses of the child. Several states think that the education of a child should not be a victim because of the separation of the parents. Such states would mandate the non-custodial parent to contribute to the college cost of the child this is after the child must attain the majority age.
What Added Considerations Should You Know
Each state in America has its unique guidelines governing the issues surrounding child support. This is to determine what amount is ideal for the parent to pay in bringing up a child. Often, courts are known to consider some factors such as the amount of support which is required to maintain the child, the income of the parents as well as the financial requirements of the child.
Even though courts do not always require the custodial parents to show that the support payments are going for a certain activity, there may be exceptional cases where the basic needs of a child are not been met. It is often assumed that parents who have the physical custody of the child usually pay for the expenses needed to raise the child. Therefore, the courts will not monitor the spending habit of the parent.
In a case where the needs of the child change, or perhaps there is a significant alteration in the situation of the parents like a change or loss of employment, a notice of modification of the existing child support may become necessary. This process is often made easier when the parent moves as quickly as possible to effect changes in the support after changes in circumstances.
How Can You File For Child Support?
A court order is often required to start the process of child support. This may occur at any point in time. It is always ideal that you apply as soon as possible. Child support often starts the same day in which the order gets filled. It is usually not retroactive beyond the date in which it was filed. This is why it is ideal to start the filling process as quickly as possible.
You may process a court order via the services of your local child support agency. You may also choose an agency you feel best suits you and your interests. You may also opt to engage the services of an attorney or even represent yourself. It is, however, ideal you opt for the services of an attorney because they can tackle the issue without an emotional attachment. A family law lawyer will have specialized experience and knowledge regarding custody issues. If you, however, opt to represent yourself, you have to be sure of your level of preparedness to handle the issues.
You may also seek the help of the Child Support Enforcement Agency in your local area to collect your child support payments.
Child support issues seem to occur daily in courts across America and this is easily traced to the high rate of divorce in our society. Knowing how to handle these issues will certainly save you a lot of time and money.
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