Child support matters are complex. The law stipulates that parents should help pay for the needs of their children. However, many parents are not aware of what child support covers exactly. Generally, in a divorce matter, the court will order the non-custodial parent to pay support to the custodial parent. That support is calculated following the standard Washington state guidelines.
Here, we discuss what child support covers and what it doesn’t cover. For assistance in calculating child support, and for legal advice on divorce and custody matters, call a Tacoma Divorce Attorney.
What Does Child Support Cover?
The court awards child support to help attain a child’s basic needs. A court’s primary concern in settling support is to ensure children have adequate funds to meet their daily needs. The child support is for food, clothing, proper shelter, decent education and healthcare.
A court determines basic child support obligation by considering the income of the parent’s and Washington state’s child support schedule. That schedule is referred to as the “child support economic table”. Once the support figures are agreed upon, the paying parent will send money every month to the custodial parent. The funds go into paying for groceries, appropriate clothing, and housing costs for the child.
How Do Parents Handle Extra Expenses
Without a doubt, children require more than the basics. For other essential expenses like medical care, the court will usually order the parents to share the burden. Miscellaneous expenses that a court might consider in addition to basic support include:
- Educational expenses: Schooling isn’t free even if a child goes to a public school. Several fees are required to support school-going children. Therefore, child support might be used to cover many school-related requirements e.g., tuition, private tutoring, SAT prep, uniform, textbooks etc.
- Child care: If the parents cannot care for their offspring because of work-related matters, then child support may pay for childcare costs. Such expenses include daycare services or hiring a babysitter.
- Medical insurance premiums: In most states, parents, whether divorced or separated, are required to have some form of healthcare cover for their children. Usually, the parent with better medical cover benefits will cater for the child’s insurance plan.
- Uninsured healthcare bills: Child support may also help to pay for uninsured (extraordinary) healthcare costs. e.g., out-of-pocket medical bills that exceed the price of a basic insurance plan. Additionally, child support may cover oral braces, eyeglasses, casts and any other special healthcare expenses.
- Co-curricular sports expenses
- Transport or travel costs
- Driver’s education
- College tuition, but this only applies in limited situations
Usually, a court mandates parents to split the approved support expenses according to their income and child support worksheets. E.g., your final settlement might be, “The paying parent will pay 80% of the child’s school expenses directly to the institution”
Are Looking for Help with a Child Support Matter?
At Alliance Law Group, we can assist you with anything involving family law in Tacoma, Washington. We help clients every year with everything from custody, child support, to divorce matters. Additionally, we can calculate your overall income, account for any adjustments in the incomes, and determine your support amount. Also, we will make sure your support order is appropriate and just. Contact us at 253-581-0660 for a consultation.