When a minor child’s parents decide that they no longer want to be romantically linked, a child support order legally follows as a matter of course. In order to determine what amount will need to be paid, which parent will need to pay and what schedule the payments will follow, the child’s parents will each need to consult with an attorney and obtain an enforceable child support order.
Each state has specific guidelines that govern the ways in which child support is calculated. In many cases, a relatively straightforward formula is applied while keeping in mind each parent’s income, assets and child custody arrangements. In most cases, the parent who houses his or her child for fewer days each year is ordered to pay support, though there are certainly cases where the parent who houses the child for more days during the year makes significantly more money and is ultimately ordered to pay support. The base formula for child support tends to primarily consider income, not special circumstance. But that is not to say that special circumstances never affect the structure of child support orders.
Child Support, Medical Expenses and Special Needs
Depending on a family’s unique circumstances, one or both parents may be required to provide health insurance for their child. The “tricky” challenge with child support is generally associated with uninsured and/or unreimbursed medical expenses. Who pays for those? Depending on a child’s needs, these expenses may be factored into a child support payment schedule or they may be treated as separate, enforceable obligations. The state may order each parent to pay a specific percentage of these expenses.
It is important to note that modifications to existing child support orders may be requested if a child or family’s circumstances change substantially. If a child develops intensive medical challenges/expenses that he or she did not have when original child support orders were drawn up, it may be possible to work with an attorney in order to modify existing orders accordingly. When it comes to a child’s special needs and support obligations, context tends to be key.
Child Support Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about child support, please don’t feel like you need to navigate those concerns alone. Experienced family law attorneys can help to provide clarity about child support orders, payment schedules, enforcement actions, modification requests and any other issues related to this form of financial support. It is correct and proper that the American legal system insists that all parents financially support their children. However, the act of providing and the act of receiving such support is not a “one-size-fits-all” system, nor should it be. A child’s special needs and a family’s unique circumstances should factor into the ways in which a child’s support orders are structured and/or modified whenever possible. If you have questions about child support and medical expenses, contact a family law attorney, like the offices of The McKinney Law Group, for help with these tough issues.