How does child support address extraordinary expenses?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | Divorce |

When a California couple divorces and a child support order is put into effect, it is not necessarily set in stone. There are guidelines that the court will use when making its order. However, as circumstances change, so too might the support that is needed and must be paid.

This is especially true in situations when there are extraordinary expenses. The child support order covers day to day living expenses, clothing, food, education, medical care and more. If there is an unexpected cost, the parents could have a dispute as to how it will be paid. Knowing how this can be handled is important.

For extraordinary expenses, there are several options

According to state law, the parents are likely to be asked to cover expenses that go beyond the basics for a child’s best interests. For example, even if a child has health care coverage, they might need treatment that is not part of the plan. That might include dental work or other kinds of care. The parents may be expected to share the costs.

It can include paying for tutoring for their education, special needs and expenses that must be paid for the noncustodial parent to have parenting time based on the agreement. If a parent must pay these expenses out of pocket, they can ask the other parent to contribute. There must be a statement detailing the costs. If the expense is not an emergency, the payments can be worked out beforehand with a statement as to its cost.

The court does not necessarily need to intervene in these cases. As with any other aspect of family law, the parents can come to their own agreement that they believe is fair. This is true with costs that do not automatically fall into the category of extraordinary expenses. It does not always need to be proportional based on income. They can split it in any way they choose.

For extraordinary child support expenses, legal help may be needed

It is beneficial for the parents and the child if the parents are on good enough terms that they can negotiate these payments on their own without needing to go to court. Still, many expenses lead to discord. Some parents do not have an amicable relationship and will need help to settle these disagreements.

Regardless, it is useful to have professional representation to be fully protected and understand the law. For child support and any other area of family law, consulting with those who have a history of helping people settle their issues effectively can be imperative.