Each parent bears the responsibility of caring for his or her child until the child reaches adulthood. The financial obligations of a parent do not end simply because a parent no longer lives with the kids full-time after a divorce. Through child support, a parent can be sure they have what is necessary for daily life and other needs that may arise. Whether you are the supporting parent or expect to receive this support, you may benefit from an understanding of what child support covers.
Your children have unique needs, and the specific things your child support payments may cover depend on the details of your individual situation. In some cases, a court may make the final decision regarding the amount of support an Alabama parent will pay, but you and the other parent may settle this matter out of court as well. The intent of any child support order is to protect the best interests of the kids above all else.
A fair, reasonable and sustainable order
Child support can be a complicated issue, especially if the two parents are at odds regarding how much the payments should be or their individual financial responsibilities on behalf of their kids. In addition to the basic needs of your children, such as food and clothing, child support payments may also cover:
- Entertainment, including special events and activities they attend
- Medical needs, including health insurance and needs not covered by insurance
- College needs, including tuition savings, room and board, and books
- Educational needs, including uniforms, books, supplies and extracurricular activities
- Transportation and travel, including the cost of a vehicle for an older child
You can include terms that specifically outline the things covered by child support payments. Both parents will benefit from clarity as this will decrease the chance of a misunderstanding or dispute in the future.
Know your rights and options
After a divorce, it is important for a parent to have an understanding of his or her rights and obligations. This includes expectations for child support, whether you will be the one making these payments, or you expect to receive them on behalf of your children. If you are unsure about what to expect regarding child support, or you are considering a negotiated support order, you may benefit from first seeking an option regarding how you can shield your long-term interests.