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Areas that child support may not address

Maryland parents who have gone through a divorce might consider music lessons to be an important part of their child's early life, but the family courts in the state might not view this experience as a necessity. Child support is intended to address the financial needs related to caring for the child after divorce, and the amount to be paid is typically computed based on the financial situations of the parents.

The parent receiving child support payments might be expected by the other parent to use those funds for extras wanted by the child. For example, a teen daughter might want to buy a prom dress and related accessories. A court is not likely to order that such extra expenses be paid through additional child support, and a parent paying child support might believe that any extras should be funded by the existing support amount. These extras might be part of a family's budget before a divorce, but they will probably not be viewed as necessities by a judge.

Extras that fall outside of the realm of support obligations could also include school-related activities and supplies. Examples include yearbooks, tutoring, and sports-related uniforms and fees. Costs related to equipping a child to drive are also not likely to be computed into child support amounts. Parents are not necessarily required to fund post-secondary education or weddings. A judge might require that a support obligation enable a child to maintain a lifestyle comparable to that experienced prior to a parental split. However, a child support formula typically guides the determination process.

An individual going through divorce and custody proceedings might find it helpful to negotiate in areas related to parenting time and other custody interests. However, failure to carefully document and record any terms could create some vulnerabilities for the parent receiving child support payments. Legal advice is important in this situation to ensure that any terms are clearly documented in a manner that facilitates enforcement in the event of default.

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