In these tough economic times, it’s extremely difficult to support two households after a separation, especially when there are children involved. There are daycare expenses, extra-curricular activities, medical bills, and other bills that go along with raising children. When one parent (usually the parent who has the majority of physical custody of the children) sues the other parent for child support, there are important financial considerations to think about, whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent. Below is a list of financial considerations that frequently impact the amount of a child support order:
1. Custodial arrangements: Does the non-custodial parent have substantial physical custody rights to the minor children? Do the parents have shared physical custody? Both can impact the amount of child support awarded to the asking parent.
2. Daycare costs: Is the child in daycare? If so, how much is paid out-of-pocket for daycare? Certainly, if a parent is paying approximately $1,000 each month toward daycare costs, this will have an impact on the amount of child support the asking parent is entitled to.
3. Disability: Does one of the parents have a disability, rendering him/her unable to work? Is a parent not working, even though he/she is capable of doing so? If a parent is truly disabled, and has evidence supporting the disability, that parent might not be obligated to pay child support or carry an income. If, on the other hand, a parent is capable of working and he/she chooses not to, that parent may be assessed an ‘earning capacity’ which will be considered in determining the amount of the child support order.
4. Medical Costs: Who carries health insurance for the children? Do the children have any additional medical issues or needs which are not covered by health insurance? What percentage of these needs should each parent be held accountable for? Medical costs will be considered in determining the amount of the child support order.
Although this list is not meant to be exhaustive of the issues considered in determining a child support order, it hopefully gives you some indication of how a child support amount is determined. Obtaining a fair child support order is in everyone’s best interest, especially the children’s best interest.
This article is not intended to be used as legal advice for any specific legal problem.