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What Does My Child Support Pay For?

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In California, both parents have a responsibility to support their children financially. This is done through the payment of child support. How much each parent pays depends on several factors, including their income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. In this blog, our child support attorney at Marmolejo Law, APC will discuss how child support is calculated in California and the items it pays for. We will also discuss how additional child support can be ordered to cover childcare, visitation costs, and extracurricular activities if the judge deems it necessary or the parents agree.

Calculation of Child Support

In the event of a divorce or a child custody order being instated, both parents are financially responsible for any children they share. Child support is calculated using a formula known as the guideline calculation. This formula considers both parents’ incomes and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The guideline calculation is designed to ensure that children receive a fair share of their parents’ income, regardless of which parent they live with.

The amount of child support each parent pays can differ depending on their circumstances. However, some general rules may apply. For example, if one parent has a higher income than the other, they might generally be required to pay more in child support. If the child spends more time with one parent than the other, the parent with a smaller amount of time-sharing may be required to pay a higher amount of child support.

Parents can also agree to pay more than the child support guideline if they believe it would help the child continue living the same lifestyle before the divorce or custody order was instated. The increase in child support can cover additional expenses not typically considered by the court, such as private school tuition, extracurricular activities, and medical expenses and care.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is intended to cover the costs of providing for a child’s immediate needs. These needs include:

  • Food,
  • Shelter,
  • Clothing,
  • Medical insurance,
  • and other necessary expenses.

While child support only covers the child’s immediate needs, if both parents or the court agree that a larger payment is necessary to care for the child, the court can order it.

Additional Child Support

Additional child support can be ordered to cover other necessary items and services the child requires. Common inclusions in additional ordered child support include:

  • Childcare costs: if one or both parents work or are taking classes to pursue higher education, they might need to enroll the child in daycare or hire a nanny for the children. The court would then order that childcare costs be included in their award for child support.
  • Healthcare: if the child is medically complex or has a physical or mental health condition that would require medical treatment or therapy, the court would require that these costs be included in your child support value.
  • Educational expenses: if your child needs tutoring or additional educational resources to thrive, the court might order for the cost of these services to be included in your child support value. This can also include private school tuition if your child already attends a private school, and it would be harmful to them to change schools.

If the judge deems it necessary or the parents agree, additional child support can be ordered to cover these additional costs.

An additional value of child support may also be ordered to cover the child’s travel expenses for visitation to follow the child custody plan. If one parent lives out of state or far away, the child may need to fly or take another mode of transportation to reach the parent. This cost should be provided for and accounted for by the court when ordering child support.

Offering Diligent & Devoted Legal Counsel

At Marmolejo Law, APC, our family law attorney understands how difficult it can be to prepare custody and support orders for your children. Our attorney can help you throughout this process and explain any questions you may have regarding how these orders should be followed.

Schedule a consultation with our family law attorney today by calling (310) 736-2063 to learn how we can stand by your side as you navigate your family law matters.