Child support question


#1

My X and I have 2 children together, currently 1 lives with her and the other is in school. We have used the calculator and seeing how the oldest child does not reside with either of us for most of the year, I was wondering how support for that child would be calculated. Our son (16yrs old) lives at school during the school year and comes home once a month. When he is home we split the time as best we can and during the summer I will get them both for 2 weeks. My X and I are trying to work this out as best we can we just don’t know how to calculate how much support each one of us is responsible for. We were also wondering how car insurance as he will be getting his license this year is calculated.


#2

Your son would still have a primary residence (presumably with you wife) and therefore should be included in the child support calculation. You can of course agree to only calculate support for the child who is at home, and work out a division of your son’s expenses separately.
Car insurance is not a factor in child support, often times the parents will split that cost.


#3

I don’t see anything in the statutes saying that car insurance should be provided separately. Perhaps you could reference for me case law or other documents.


#4

I think what Ms Clarey means is that child support is intended to meet the basic needs of the child: food, shelter, clothing, etc. Extraneous things like college expenses, car insurance, extra curricular activities are optional items in a child’s life and therefore don’t commonly get figured in with child support. In practice, they are usually dealt with separately via an agreement, written or verbal, between the parents and those expenses are not used to determine child support.

FWIW, the thought is that economic situations of families change due to unforeseen circumstances. If you include the optionals in an agreement, then you are bound by the terms of that contract no matter what in your or your children’s lives has changed.


#5

Athos,

Thank you so much for your response. You make very good points. However, I’ve researched this. Please let me try to sway you. If I’m not effective I would be very grateful if you could tell me where I’ve missed the mark.

Although the legislature may have intended Child Support to meet the basic needs of the children that is not how the guidelines are calculated by PSI of Colorado. (The Chief Justices contract with PSI to calculate the guidelines. I have the NC report from an FOIA / State Records Law request. You can see the entire process on http://www.courts.state.md.us/family/pdfs/conference/childsupportconference/004overviewofstepsusedtoupdateschedule.pdf.)

They tell us they use a study which is based onthe 2006 consumer expenditure survey. Next, according to the PSI document for the NC Guidelines, 2010, page 21, “Subtract child care expenses; health insurance premiums; and extraordinary, uninsured health care expenses from estimates of child-rearing expenditures.” Noteworthy is they didn’t subtract expenses for educational test-taking, tutoring, sports, travel, car-insurance, nor prom expenses.

This raises the question as to what is in the consumer expenditure survey (CEX) exactly. Car insurance expenses are included in the consumer expenditure survey. On http://www.bls.gov/cex/csx801p.pdf at the top of page 13 you can see the request for that data. I see no reason why anyone would not include the entire payment. I see no reason to subtract out the part of the payment for a child. Since the entire payment is there so is the child’s portion.

Therefore, I argue a child’s car insurance payment is included in the CEX data which means it is included in the guideline amounts. And additional payment for car insurance is therefore a double payment.


#6

No, Jim, car insurance is NOT included in child support because it is not a necessity. We have 3 kids that we’ve supported through the divorce and have gone through the child support system. The ex tried to get car insurance and similar stuff included so that she could get more money, but CSE forbade it. So, I’m speaking from practical experience here. Things like child care (after school care, daycare while a parent is at work, etc) are part of the calculations and can adjust the relative amounts paid/received. Extraordinary expenses are included like excessive travel to see a parent (e g airplane flights or mileage if it is a long way away.) because it is seen as a necessity for the child to have both parents in his/her life for good development and mental health. Health insurance is included because it is seen as a necessity for the care of a child.

Basically, only the necessities are included on the theory that people’s economic situations change. One year you could afford to pay for a child to take a trip to Europe, the next you can’t because your house was damaged in a hurricane and you have to pay money to get it fixed.

Now, having said that car insurance is NOT included as an extra calculation as it is not a necessity for the care of a child. However, it could be inferred that it is part of the original calculations for reasonable expense. Therefore, you are also under no obligation to pay it unless it is written into the separation or divorce agreement that ALL other expenses for the child…extra curricular activities, etc…will be split between the two parents…yada yada yada. It is a kindness to pay it for the child, but it isn’t necessary. So, basically it can’t be used as a separate deduction to reduce one’s payment or increase the amount that the other party receives, which is what the original question was about.