What does child support cover?
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

What does child support cover?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2020 | Family Law

Separated clients with children often come to us with somewhat similar questions regarding child support: Does child support cover extracurriculars or sports? What about school supplies or private tuition? How about daycare costs or summer camps? The question essentially boils down to this: what exactly does child support cover?

When calculating child support, the formula provided by Virginia law takes into account each party’s gross income, the amount of children, childcare costs, and health insurance costs. The amount that results is what the law presumes should be sufficient to support the child from the non-custodial parent’s income. In addition, the law states that the parties must pay any expenses not covered by medical expenses in proportion to their respective incomes.

What does this mean in practice? Unless parents contract otherwise, child support will often be “it” in terms of the financial help you can expect from the other parent. There is no other legal basis (although there may be a moral one) for the other parent to chip in for sports, school supplies or clothes, private tuition, or summer camps. However, it is possible that the Court can consider the parent’s standard of living during the marriage when determining whether to deviate or depart from the presumed child support amount, as determined by the formula provided by Virginia law.

This year, the Virginia legislature has made an important change effective July 1, 2020 to our existing child support laws. Parents can now make a claim for pregnancy and delivery expenses, provided: 1) the child support case commenced within six months of the child’s date of birth, unless good cause can be shown 2) the parents pay in proportion to their incomes any reasonable and necessary unpaid expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and delivery, 3) that this amount isn’t added to the basic child support obligation. This is a major change from how child support was typically calculated. It is very important for any recently separated parent who is also expecting a child to consult with an attorney and to carefully itemize their out of pocket expenses.

Do you have any questions about what child support covers, or for any family law, criminal law or personal injury matter? Please contact our firm by phone or email today.

This post is provided as an educational service and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers in need of assistance with a legal matter should retain the services of competent counsel.