Raising kids is expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the cost to raise a child to the age of 18 is almost $250,000. This reality makes a detailed child support agreement critical in your Michigan divorce so you’re not left doing the lion’s share when it comes to paying for your child’s needs and wants until they reach adulthood.
7 Child Support Questions You Must Answer
The questions surrounding divorce may seem never-ending, but one place where you don’t want to slack is child support. You may long to be rid of your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you shoulder the load of paying for everything your child needs until he or she is an adult.
Which parent is responsible for what major expenses needs to be carefully detailed in your divorce papers, beyond the specifics of basic monthly child support. Before you sign anything, the following financial questions need to be answered:
- Which parent will include the child on their health insurance?
- Who will cover the child’s tuition (now and in the future), whether to private school, college, or otherwise?
- Will you both contribute to the costs of back-to-school clothes, school supplies, athletic equipment, class trips, summer camp, and extracurricular activities and associated expenses?
- Who will cover the cost of your child’s braces? Glasses? Contact lenses? Other medical needs?
- Who will pay for your child’s cell phone, tablet, computer, Internet access, and other technological needs?
- Who will pay for the child’s car (or help them pay for it), put the child on their car insurance, and pay for gas, repairs, and oil changes?
- Who can claim the child as a dependent on their tax returns?
Divvying up financial responsibilities like this can leave your child stuck between warring parents. If one parent wants to spite the other, or get something from them, they may hold a child’s needs hostage until they get what they want. So along with identifying who will pay for each of these items, there needs to be language that describes what kind of legal action can be taken or penalties can be incurred for not following through (e.g., turning off cell phone service because your teen won’t answer your texts in a timely manner).
Financially Protect Yourself and Your Child
Divorce can be a contentious mess. Parents will encounter hurdles they never anticipated. You may find yourself in a situation where your ex has no qualms about neglecting the needs of his or her children or sloughing them off to you alone.
Yes, divorce is about ending your marriage, but it’s also about protecting and taking care of your children. You may not want anything to do with your ex once the divorce papers are signed, but your kid needs your ex’s support in multiple ways, particularly financially – and you need that financial support too.
Don’t pursue a divorce without the help of an experienced Michigan divorce attorney. Child support is too serious to take lightly or attempt to figure out on your own. Contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Macomb, Michigan to schedule your free consultation.