Federal Child Support Guidelines provide a bare basics framework
for determining how separating parents will split the financial
responsibility and cover the costs of raising their children. But
the official tables are only a starting point.
When a child's needs don't fit neatly into the
cookie-cutter model, parents may be able to include in their child
support arrangement what the law refers to as special or extraordinary expenses.
What Makes An Expense Special Or
Out-of-the-ordinary child support expenses go beyond the basics
such as food and shelter and must meet two basic requirements: They
must be both necessary for the child's best interests and they
must also be reasonable when matched against the family's
typical spending habits prior to the separation.
Some examples of extraordinary expenses include:
Amounts that the custodial parent
incurs to obtain childcare while that parent is working, ill,
disabled or taking required, work-related education
Insurance premiums that a parent pays
to obtain medical and dental care for the child
Costs associated with a child's
Special expenses related to a
child's primary or secondary education, such as private
schooling or tutoring
Extracurricular activities for
children with special needs or outstanding talent
Coming To An Agreement On Special Expenses
If the parents agree that a given expense is extraordinary and
warrants inclusion within the child support arrangement, parties
generally pay their share proportionate to their respective income
levels – although alternate divisions can also be
As a protection against nonpayment and to ensure legal
enforceability, signing parties are wise to specify precise details
about the exact nature of the expense, payment due dates and
specific dollar amounts in a written support agreement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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