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Child support and the holiday season

Posted on October 2, 2013 in the Child Support category.

If you have been in a mall lately, you can tell that Halloween is just around the corner. For divorced and separated parents, this is a reminder that the holiday season is coming quickly. With that, there will be costs for costumes for school plays, travel expenses for family gatherings, and of course…Christmas presents.

For those who rely on court-ordered child support (as well as those pay such support) the holidays can be trying times. After all, raising a child is quite expensive, and the holidays contribute to the $217,000 to $500,000 most parents will spend in raising a child to age 18.

In the midst of the holidays, some custodial parents may expect more from non-custodial parents in order to make the season bright. When the non-custodial parent cannot (or refuses to) provide additional support, feelings can become raw and the child may be affected.

Because of this possibility, it is helpful to know what child support is comprised of and what it is intended to cover. Essentially, child support payments are geared towards satisfying a child’s basic needs. It is based on a formula that considers both parents’ incomes, the number of non-joint children each parent must care for, as well as additional child support obligations or alimony payments.

Absent unique pre-existing circumstances, court-ordered support will not cover costs related to extra-curricular activities, or holiday expenses. As such, a court will be unwilling to compel a parent to pay for these additional costs. Nevertheless, parents can work together to share these costs so that their child’s holiday experience is memorable.

Source: Source: USA Today.com, “Housing, health care fuel record costs of raising a kid“, August 14, 2013