Put thought into child support, divorce agreements

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

In Missouri, how much a parent will pay in child support — typically the non-custodial parent — is determined based on guidelines that take into account parents’ gross incomes and different necessary costs for the child, like medical and daycare. However, the truth is that when coming up with child support and divorce agreements, it’s important to think well into future costs to prevent contentious arguments from coming up later on down the road.

When looking at determining costs, it’s important for parents to look beyond what the current situation is now. This means thinking about things, like what a child will need once he or she is in college. Of course, this may be hard to imagine when two parents are going through a divorce with a toddler-aged child, but the truth is that the child will one day grow up and may want to go off to college. Who would pay for this? Will it be split up a certain way with stipulations? And not just the actual tuition, but how will room and board be paid for? What about if the child needs a computer for school? How will that expense be divided up?

Of course this is just one scenario. Even before college, the costs typically associated with raising a child can become quite expensive. Like what happens when a child is getting closer to getting a driver’s license. Who would pay for driver’s education? Would just one parent chip in for auto insurance, or is this an expense both parents will somehow split up? Maybe this is something the child will pay for?

As one can see, due to the constantly changing needs of children as they age, some suggest revisiting and possibly renegotiating agreements every couple of years to make sure that both parents are having fair financial roles in their child’s life.

However, in cases where child support needs are not readdressed, it is especially important to then think of all possible scenarios as part of the divorce negotiation in order to prevent future misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Source: CNBC, “How to Provide for the Kids Post-Divorce,” Elizabeth Alterman, May 7, 2012

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