Divorcing with children is emotionally taxing, but figuring out all the legal aspects of it is no walk in the park either. Child support is just one of the many things that need to be figured out while finalizing a divorce that will affect children, and it can be very daunting and overwhelming if you're not entirely sure what it is that you're taking into consideration.
Child support is calculated by a few different things, but when those items aren't being communicated, it can seem like an insignificant number that often leads to feelings of unfairness. In an attempt to avoid this, we are going to provide you with a brief overview of what items are considered in the process of calculating child care.
Income of Both Parents
Given that child support is intended to provide children with the care and items that they need, it makes sense that income of both parents would be taken into consideration. More often than not, both incomes of the parents will be looked at to see how much of their income is supplementing the care for the child. On a percentage base, the judge will determine what is fair for the other parent to pay for the children to be entirely taken care of.
This is usually the part of the calculations that people are most nervous for because while they know what their income is and where it stands next to the other parents, it can be uneasy waiting to hear where you will land with the child support. Just know that the court will always take all of the areas into consideration and not only your financial status.
That being said, if financial status changes at any point after the child support is determined, you can bring the case back to the courts to have it re-evaluated and updated.
Additional Child Support
If a parent is currently paying for child support for another child, then this will be deducted from their income so that the other child receiving the child care is not hurt in the process. This isn't the case for all parents that will be going through a divorce and needing to look into child support, but if it is the case that you're in, it's something that you should be aware of.
A must for children is the healthcare that they need to visit the doctor, get their eyes checked, visit the dentist and the like. This is going to be one of the top priorities of the court when they break down the numbers for child support. If one parent is taking on the responsibility of healthcare for the children, then this is something that the other parent's child support will be supplementing.
Aside from the healthcare coverage itself, most courts will ask for some additional funds to be added to the amount of healthcare given to each child so that any other costs for medication or health-related items will never be a concern. Again, this isn't going to be the case each time, but it's something that you should anticipate as your child support calculations are being completed.
As a parent, you know that childcare is not as affordable as it once was. For that reason, this is one of the significant pieces that will be looked at when determining what is fair regarding child support. The court will take into consideration how many days a week the child is in a childcare facility and the overall expense of the child attending the facility.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most significant elements that will be considered throughout the process as it is seen as one of the necessary pieces for caring for a child.
Another piece that the courts will take into consideration is the custody that each parent has of the child or children. While all of the items that we listed above are going to make up pieces of the number that they come up with, the amount of time that each parent is spending with the child is going to make a big difference on how the child support is delegated and calculated.
For example, if one parent is making more than the other, but they are also the parent that will have majority of the custody, then the other parent will still be required to pay enough child support that they can assist the parent that is going to be responsible for a majority of those financial interactions and expenses.
In the case, that custody of the child or children shifts after the initial agreement, then the conversation of child support will have to come up again and start from scratch based off of the new arrangements. This is intended to create a fair process for all of the individuals involved.
The last piece that we're going to cover when talking about child support is going to be the additional expenses that inevitably come along with raising a kid. These expenses include the food that needs to be put on the table, clothes that they need as they grow, and other expenses that will ensure these children are living good lives.
Something that will always be considered in these expenses will also be school supplies. If you have children that are in grade school or high school, you can expect for these types of costs to play a part in the child support calculations.
Another expense that will also be calculated into this will be their cost of living. This is directly associated with what we were talking about earlier in terms of where the custody lies. These types of payments should also cover any bills that are associated with the children.
Let Our Team Help
We've touched on a few of the points that are going to be taken into consideration when going through the calculation of child support. Given the difference between each case and the circumstances of them, it is understandable and expected for questions to come up. Allow for us to be by your side throughout the process.
The team at O'Keefe Family Law is going to have your best interest, and that of your child, at hand. From the amount of child support that you're responsible for how it is delegated and organized, you can count on us to provide you with answers to your questions and guidance along the way. If you have any additional questions about child care and what to expect, reach out to us, and we can set up a consultation to discuss further.