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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
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What does child support cover? There are two teenagers and

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What does child support cover? There are two teenagers and a toddler involved in this divorce and the requested amount of child support is only enough to cover groceries. There are also cell phone bills, car insurance, gas money, school lunch money and tuition for the toddler. Is that monthly payment supposed to cover all of the above or can those bills be "billed" separately to the noncustodial parent?

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Are you using the state child support guidelines to calculate child support?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No. and that is stated in the paper work. He has offered $1000/mth for 3 children but as I stated that is grocery money. The standard of living "we are accustomed to" is nowhere close to that amount however, he has recently lost his job but still has means to pay.

Hello again, Jennifer. Why are you deviating from the support guidelines? What paperwork are you referring to? Has a court already entered an order of support?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I hired an attorney to file the suit only because online it is way too much paperwork. It is supposed to be filed "uncontested" so that it is that much cheaper for me. She gave me the proposed MSA to serve my ex myself instead of making a sheriff do it (him and I are currently trying to be as amicable as possible since he knows he messed up and I just want out. We are trying to be nice for the kids sake, no court, no fighting etc and we are trying to come to these terms without court orders to both sides are "happy" ) However he has returned the papers to me "marked up with questions" and it is after hours and weekend so I cannot get to my lawyer.

The deviation from child support was unable to be processed correctly because he is currently unemployed and the amount would come out to less, if not nothing, than what we agreed on ($1000/momth). One of his questions was if I expected him to split cell phone bills etc on top of the child support. Is the child support only allotted to "roof over the head" bills in which case, then yes, I expect the "extras" to be helped with separately.

He also wants a clause that all this becomes null and void if the children choose to live with him instead - my teens would never choose that considering their history with him, but the baby I dont want to see caught in the middle so I asked at what age would that even be an option to give the children the choice of which parent.

I can prove my ex "unfit" and will not allow the baby to live with him and have him on the minimal one day per week and every other weekend.

I see. Thank you very much for providing this additional information, Jennifer.

Child support is typically considered the support needed from each parent to cover routine costs, not extraordinary costs, such as braces or other one-time expenses occurred for a child. So it generally includes everything except extraordinary costs and medical expenses. Tuition can also be added to the support amount if the child has been attending private school.

The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage is a factor typically considered in determining whether to award alimony, not child support, so that is not something a court would normally consider in awarding support.

The law does not provide a minor child with a right to choose which parent to live with, although the child's wishes can be taken into account if they are of sufficient maturity and can articulate legitimate reasons for choosing one parent over the other. The court can give weight to their wishes but it is not determinative.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you yes I understand the standard of living applies to alimony and I have been gracious to him about that since he used money as a control issue anyway I dont want it. I am not willing for the children to suffer however and go without because he is being ... stingy.

And from your answer then I can feel 'safe' that no matter what he does to try and convince a 3 year old to live with him that he would not win in court? Yes, he is that childish himself and in competition mode right now. ..

I think you are being very gracious not requesting alimony, Jennifer, and you are right to protect the children.

Right, a 3 year old child would never have decision-making authority as to where to live typically, so his attempts to persuade the child to live with him would be in vain.

Tina and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry I got a phone call. God bless you. Thank you. I will give you excellent feedback on this. I appreciate your time.

You are very welcome and thank you very much for the kind words and positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.


Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.