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What if there are unexpected expenses for a child?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Family Law |

California parents who are no longer together as a couple will likely have a child support agreement. The objective is to provide the child with what they need to live a healthy life and thrive.

Based on their best interests, it is expected to cover housing, food, medical care, necessities for school, extracurricular activities and more. However, sudden costs are to be expected with children. Parents need to be aware of how this will be addressed as part of their case if it goes beyond the normal child support payments.

Extraordinary expenses and how parents might be asked to contribute

Just as children have basic needs, there could be costs that were not anticipated but must be paid. If a custodial parent is receiving child support, they might need education and training to find suitable employment. This is common for stay at home parents who either did not get advanced education and training or put their attempts to receive it on hold. They might need to cover child care. This could be an extraordinary expense.

Health care is also a possible justification for there to be extraordinary expenses. While a child could have insurance coverage from the parents, there might be necessary treatments that are not paid for. Needing dental work is an example.

Some children have special needs that will cost more to educate them. Depending on the distance between the parents, travel back and forth for parenting time could be costlier than normal and might warrant extra payments.

When these costs arise, the parent who receives the bill or paid it out of pocket is expected to give an itemized list of services to the other parent. With some health care plans, a treatment was partially covered. The parent who paid must also prove what they did pay.

Parents should know what to do if there are extraordinary child support expenses

In some cases, the parents are on reasonably good terms and finances are not a major topic for dispute. They can then negotiate on their own and decide how to share the costs. At other times, the parents disagree about the payments and if it was needed to begin with.

When there is an agreement between the parents, a judge needs to sign it for it to be enforceable. With these concerns and any other issue related to child support, parents need to be fully aware of their rights and how to make sure the child’s needs are paid for.