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In California there are two types of child support: Base child support and add-on child support

After spending a decade preparing child support calculations for separating parents, I have often found myself wondering if posting support calculations next to condom machines isn’t the answer to teen pregnancy. Speculation aside, if you are a divorcing or separating parent in California, then join us for a quick review of California Child Support. Most clients who come into the office are aware of what we lawyers call base child support. Base child support is a monthly support payment made to help the child(ren) maintain a basic standard of living in the homes of both parents. Base child support covers food, shelter, and clothing.   Now what about all the other expenses your child(ren) have? Like sports, summer camp, afterschool programs, nannies, tutors, and violin lessons. Who is supposed to pay for Billy to become the next Beethoven?

Not to worry, like most matters surrounding the support of your children, the California legislature has taken the guess work out of figuring out how Billy will get his piano lessons. CUE ADD-ON CHILD SUPPORT. According to the California Legislature there are 4 types of expenses that parents share. Two are mandatory and two are up to the discretion of the judge.

Mandatory Child Support Add-ons: Childcare and Uninsured Medical Expenses

Whether asked for or not, the court must order the parties to share childcare expenses that are necessary for the parents to work or to receive training expected to lead to work. In addition to sharing the cost of childcare, co-parents must also share in the cost of copayments, deductibles, and any other expenses that are incurred that are not covered by your child’s health insurance. These expenses will be automatically shared equally unless you ask the judge to skew the percentage paid by each parent according to each party’s income.

Discretionary Child Support Add-ons: Educational and Travel Expenses

Under the title of educational expenses, we lump the extracurricular expenses, the cost of uniforms, and the cost of going on field trips, in addition to the costs of private school, tutors, and other perhaps more traditional educational expenses. Travel expenses are available for cases where the parents live far enough away from each other that notable travel expenses are incurred for the child(ren) to see both parents. Both educational and travel expenses are discretionary, in my experience Judge’s are very quick to order educational expenses but tend towards being more conservative when it comes to sharing travel expenses.

Don’t Let Add-on Child Support Send You to the Poor House

Sharing these expenses can cause a lot of unnecessary stress in the recently divided family. Divorce makes yesterday’s necessities, today’s luxuries and suddenly soccer lessons can become a battleground. Judge’s don’t enjoy deciding whether your children will continue taking music lessons or whether they will get braces, but when parents cannot agree, the Judge must decide. Working with a mediator who is experienced in co-parenting can save you a lot of money and aggravation because the mediator can help you see potential areas of conflict before they arise and guide you to set up a plan to handle conflicts when they do arise. Amanda Jarratt has been helping parents to share in extra-circular expenses without judicial intervention for years. She can help you save your sanity, your pocket books, and your children from unnecessary litigation. To get started, you must reach out and set up an initial consult. The Jarratt Martin Team will guide you through the process from there.

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