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The Cost of Child Support

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Child support is always a hot bed of discussion. There are several reasons for this and the main one is, what exactly does child support cover? According to the website, Divorce Support,

The term "child support" covers all the economic necessities of life required by a child. These necessities include, but are not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, and other day-to-day expenses.

Let's break it down further to better understand the necessities. There is mortgage or rent, utilities such as water, electric, gas and phone. There are school payments for field trips, school supplies, uniforms and odds and ends. There are three meals a day and snacks. There are clothes and shoes, underwear and socks. There are toothpaste and doctors appointments, haircuts and shampoo. The list can go on and on, but you get a general idea of what the necessities are.

Then, you could have other things that pop up, like tutoring, therapy, which could be speech therapy or psychotherapy, sports, although not a necessity, still important for children to learn how to be a team player, win and lose and socialize. And, if your child has a special talent that you want to nurture there could be piano lessons or ballet, art or gymnastics. And, let's not forget that even those extras like band at school cost money, and the money has to come from somewhere.

There are those that believe cost of everyday living should be split between the two parents. After all, why should the man shoulder the burden of supporting the children when he only lives with them part time or some of the time? There are also those that believe the mom who was a stay at home mom while married should remain a stay at home mom and live off the child support along with their children. And, those that believe something somewhere in the middle. Which is right?

This is taken from the NOLO website, and seems to say it pretty clearly,

According to the federal Child Support Enforcement Act, each state has developed guidelines to calculate a range of child support to be paid, based on the parents' respective incomes and expenses.

Seems fair so far. They go on to say this

When a court sets child support, it often considers the family's pre-divorce standard of living and attempts to continue this standard for the children, if feasible.

This is where the dissension comes into play. Is it fair for the non-custodial parent to continue to pay for the lifestyle of the children that do not live with them full time? Not really. Did the non-custodial parent have a role in the divorce? Most likely. Did the non-custodial parent choose to have children while married? One can assume that they did. So, why do they complain about how much they are court ordered to pay for those children they wanted and put in this situation?

There is no question that both parents should contribute to the financial upbringing of the children of divorce, but when you have a stay at home mom or dad during the marriage with one person supporting the household, how do you expect that now divorced mom or dad to contribute equally? They can't. And, isn't it more reasonable and better for the children to have a parent raising them over a babysitter?

There are so many questions about child support and frankly no good answers. Child support becomes an emotional issue instead of a financial one, and everyone has a different view and opinion of what it should cover and how much should be paid. There is no question the "necessities" that I listed above have to be paid for by someone, whether it is the custodial or non-custodial parent. But there is one truth about child support. It is never enough to cover the cost of bringing up the children.

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