What is Child Support Used For

What is Child Support Used For?

Child support covers everything a child needs, "and even more", during the growth and formative years. Keep the following in mind:

A parent's first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent's circumstances and station in life; and children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Thus, the amount of a child support award is more than a question of "bare necessities."

If the child has a wealthy parent, that child is entitled to, and therefore ?needs? something more than the bare necessities of life. Where the supporting parent enjoys a lifestyle that far exceeds the custodial parent's living standard, child support must "to some degree" reflect that more "opulent lifestyle." This is so even though, as a practical matter, the child support payments will incidentally benefit others in the custodial household whom the payor parent has no obligation to support (e.g., custodial parent owed no spousal support, adult children, or children from custodial parent's other relationships).

Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children. Children are entitled to share in non-custodial parent's "elevated standard of living" despite custodial parent's substantially lower income. Awarding supported children a percentage of a non-custodial parent's future bonuses ensures they will share in his standard of living.

How Do Child Care Costs Get Factored In?

The cost of child care can likewise be apportioned between the parents. Because child care costs are incurred so that a parent is able to earn income, it means that a greater amount of combined income is available for the support of the child. Since both parents benefit from the cost of child care, this cost is divided between the parents (usually 50% each). The parent who actually pays the child care expense receives payment from the other parent.

What About Paying for College or Private School Expenses?

Whether parties in a divorce must pay the expenses of their child(ren)’s college education depends on the law in the state where the parents live and any agreement between the couple. Parents are not required to pay for higher education in some states while in others they are. Whatever the law may be, though, the spouses can agree work out educational costs as part of their divorce settlement.

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