Parent have an obligation to financially support their children, even after a divorce is final. Child support exists for the purpose of ensuring that kids have what they need for daily life, and these are payments typically sent to the custodial parent from the non-custodial parent each month. If you are the higher-earning parent or the kids do not live with you primarily, it is likely you will have to make child support payments.
You have the right to know exactly where your money is going each month. It may be helpful for you to understand the typical uses for child support and what factors will determine how much you will have to pay. This information will help you protect your rights and make sure your kids have what they need even when they are not with you.
Typical expenses and financial needs
It can be expensive to take care of children on one income, which is why child support is often a requirement after a divorce. Both parents must continue to contribute financially toward the needs and requirements of their kids, and this is why child support typically goes toward the following:
- Basic needs, like food and clothing
- Medical care and ongoing health care needs
- Transportation and travel
- Educational needs, such as school expenses or tutoring
- Extracurricular activities
- College expenses, including tuition, books, room and board
Every situation is different. If your child has specific needs, like a unique medical need, your child support may contribute toward expenses associated with that.
Factors for the court’s consideration
The determination of child support differs on a case-by-case basis. The amount you will have to pay depends on certain factors that the court will carefully consider, such as your income, other financial obligations and what the child needs to maintain as much continuity of lifestyle as possible for him or her. The court will also look at the specific financial needs of the child.
If you are unable to maintain child support payments because of changes in your financial situation, it may be possible to secure a modification of your support order. This has no bearing on your parental rights or your ability to have regular access to your children. You have the right to pursue a final order that is reasonable and sustainable, ensuring your kids have what they need while not compromising your financial stability