Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”)
on the Uses of Child Support
Attorney Patrick McGraw Offers Answers on the Uses of Child Support
Q: What is Child Support Used For?
A: Child support covers everything a child needs, “and even more”, during the growth and formative years. 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. Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Thus, the amount of a child support obligation is more than a question of “bare necessities.”
If the child has a wealthy parent, and needs something more than the bare necessities of life, and 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.” The child support payments will benefit others in the custodial household whom the payer parent has no obligation to support.
Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children. Children share in non-custodial parent’s “elevated standard of living” despite custodial parent’s lower income.
Q: How Do Child Care Costs Get Factored In?
A: The cost of childcare can likewise be administered between the parents. Parents acquire childcare costs so that a parent may earn income. This means that a greater amount of combined income is available for the support of the child. Since both parents benefit from the cost of childcare, this cost becomes divided between the parents. The parent who actually pays the childcare expense receives payment from the other parent.
Q: What About Paying for College or Private School Expenses?
A: Whether parties in a divorce must pay the expenses of their child or children’s college education depends on the law in the state. Parents are not required to pay for higher education in some states. Whatever the law may be, the spouses can agree on educational costs as part of their divorce settlement.