Child support is always a very touchy subject for all parties involved. Many parents may have questions about child support and what it can be used for. Read more to find out exactly what does child support in California cover.
You are not alone. Many parents in the process of splitting – be it divorce or a civil separation – question what is covered with child support and what is not. The recipient of the child support payments worries whether the child support amount will pay all the child’s needs, while the paying spouse is concerned about whether their support payment really goes to the child or children.
The good news is that according to the California child support formula, each parent pays to support their children according to his or her wages or salary vs level of responsibility for the children. This aims to keep the interests of children as the state’s top priority.
Base Child Support is for Basic Living Expenses
As much as child support guidelines aim for uniformity of child support obligation, each set of circumstances undergoes modification according to criteria such as each parent’s income and the level of financial needs for each child. It does not include the custodial parent’s living expenses.
Having said that, the child support calculation formula starts by determining the amount of child support required to cover the child’s basic needs. Basic child support obligations cover only the necessities of food (school lunches, snacks, and other groceries), shelter (a portion of mortgage or rent payments and utility bills), and necessary clothing.
Once each child is suitably protected, the child support order calculations govern the amount required to sustain a child’s standard of living.
Additional Child Support is Paid to Cover Other Expenses
But you do not need us to tell you that raising a child costs a lot more than that!
That is why an agreement for additional child-related expenses will be laid out in your final orders. These costs can include:
- Medical expenses, generally covered in California by the health insurance of both parents.
- Uninsured medical expenses that leave you out of pocket, like co-payments, deductibles, or health care costs related to eyeglasses, braces, and the like.
- Education and entertainment expenses from high school and tuition fees to summer camps, sports activities, and possibly college expenses.
- Transport and childcare costs are also factored in.
When Does Child Support End?
According to California law, “child support ends when the child turns 18 years old if he or she graduates from high school. If your 18-year-old child is still a full-time high school student and still lives with a parent, child support ends when your child graduates or turns 19, whichever occurs first”.
At Westover Law Group, you have access to courtroom-savvy, caring, experienced family law attorneys. We are here to answer the question: what does child support in California cover, as well as any other questions you may have.