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Who Pays the Extra Expenses in Child Support?

Friday, 11 February 2011

blog-logoChild support laws may vary from state to state, but they have certainly evolved over the years.  Not that long ago, only the father was obligated to pay child support in a divorce, but now the obligation is “formally” imposed on either parent, whoever is not living with the children.  That is not to say that the custodial parent doesn’t pay child support.  Ultimately, custodial parents are responsible for their share of the support, plus anything else their child needs that isn’t covered by child support laws.  As a Colorado Springs child support lawyer, I’ve seen many of my clients seek compensation for uncovered expenses, including extra-curricular activities, home computers, orthodontic work and summer camp.  Unfortunately, these expenses are not included in a basic support order and must be negotiated separately.

While many custodial parents in Colorado may legitimately need more child support to meet the needs of their children, non-custodial parents often petition the court to pay less.  One reason for this disconnection between parents has to do with the level of parental involvement by both parents.  It seems that the less involved a non-custodial parent is with his or her children, the less willing they are to pay for the “extras”.  When a financially capable parent fails to support his or her children, it is often seen as a way of punishing their ex-spouse, deflecting his or her own “fault” in the divorce, or an expression of jealousy over the custodial parent’s relationship with the children. 

However, in the eyes of the court, parenting time is not associated with child support.  In other words, a parent who sees his or her children one day per month bears the same financial responsibility as a parent who is with the children three times a week.  When parents are amicable enough to cooperate and share the responsibilities of parenting, they rarely end up in a battle over child support.  That’s why as a Colorado Springs child support lawyer, I always recommend mediation to my clients. 

To learn more about the best way to determine a fair amount of child support, contact a Colorado Springs child support attorney at the Marrison Family Law LLC and schedule a free consultation. 

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