When you go through a divorce with children, you are required to work out a child support arraignment. However, not all costs of raising your children will be included in your order. Below are four hidden costs you may not have realized existed.
Download Our Free Child Custody and Support Guide
1.) Extracurricular Activities
When parents are getting divorced, the children need to be a focal point in the process. Extracurricular activities are not something that’s included in the basic child support calculation. Whether your child plays lacrosse, takes piano lessons, ballet, soccer, or whatever the extracurricular activity is, it’s important that you discuss it. That you discuss it with your soon to be former spouse, that it’s in the family budget, and that you figure out what you’re going to do as your child and the sports become more involved or the activities become more involved or they become more expensive. Who’s going to drive? Whose duty is it to drive the children to their activities? What are we going to do when there’s a recital? What are we going to do when there’s a big match or a travel game? Are we both going? Can we handle going together? Those are all things that you need to think about and they need to be included in whatever your ultimate settlement agreement looks like.
- Activities will need to be discussed an included in a family budget.
- A schedule will need to be created and followed to take the child to their activities.
2.) Day Care
What happens to the costs associated with childcare for a couple’s child or children when both parents work outside the home and both parents are at work? Work-related childcare expenses are an included factor in calculating child support. The cost of regular, recurring childcare can be factored into the child support worksheet using the child support guidelines.
For instance, a child who’s not yet school age is in regular daycare and the weekly charge for daycare is a set amount. The amount of that recurring expense can be factored into the child support guidelines. In the case of multiple children who are at home with a caregiver – such as a nanny or au pair who helps care for them – the expense is a regularly occurring expense, and the parents can elect to apportion it based on their incomes with each paying their proportional share of the childcare expense.
Summer camp is another factor. School-age children might require before care or aftercare – and there could also be a component for summer camp. When both parents work outside the home, all of these things are paid in addition to the basic child support amount.
- When both parents work outside the home and both parents are at work, work-related childcare expenses are included in calculating child support. Regular, recurring childcare can be factored into the child support worksheet using specific guidelines.
- For a child who’s not yet school age and is in regular daycare, the weekly charge for daycare is a set amount which can be factored into the child support guidelines.
- If multiple children are at home with a caregiver, that regularly occurring expense can be apportioned based on the parents’ incomes.
- School-age children may require before care or aftercare – and a component for summer camp may be included.
- When both parents work outside the home, all of these items are paid in addition to basic child support.
3.) Out of Pocket Medical Expenses
I often work with families that have extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses. Perhaps one of the children has autism or some other illness that requires regular medical attention. It could be for medications or special programs the child needs to attend. It could be speech therapy or occupational therapy, but the family knows they will continue to have these recurring costs on a monthly basis. These considerations are above and beyond the child support calculation, and it’s very important that they’re quantified early on in the litigation so that a contingency plan is in place to ensure that the child receives uninterrupted services while the case is pending and post-divorce. Extraordinary medical expenses for a child with special needs is a very important consideration and you must work with your attorney to flesh out its financial impact.
- A child with autism or some other illness that requires regular medical attention can result in extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Ongoing expenses may include medications or special programs such as speech therapy or occupational therapy and these are outside the child support calculation.
- It’s essential to quantify such expenses early and set a contingency plan in place to ensure uninterrupted services.
- Extraordinary medical expense for a child with special needs is very important, and your attorney must help you flesh out its financial impact.
4.) College Costs
College contribution is an important consideration in a divorce. There is no cookie cutter answer to wither your child should stay in state, whether your child should go out of state, or whether your child should go to a public college versus a private college. You have to do what’s best for your child and do what works for the family’s budget. If you’re getting divorced and your child is nowhere near college age, you should put a placeholder in your settlement agreement to at least express what your intent is. Is it your intent that your child will stay in state? I’m not saying that’s going to be enforceable, but is it your intent for your child to go to the college of his or her dreams versus the college that the two of you can afford at the time your child is entering college? All of these are important considerations and things to discuss with your attorney and your soon to be former spouse in the process leading up to your settlement agreement.
- College costs should be based on what is proper for the child and what is comfortable on your families wallet.
- If your child is young, it is best to put information in your agreement based on the future, in terms of contribution.
Are you dealing with a child support issue that you can not face alone? Let Tanya L. Freeman, a family law Attorney in Jersey City and Parsippany guide you.
This educational video was brought to you by Tanya L. Freeman, a Child Support Attorney in NJ with offices in Morris and Hudson County.
Download Our Free Child Custody and Support Guide