If the judge orders you to pay child support, you may assume that the single check each month must go toward all costs associated with raising your children, from food and shelter to private school tuition. This is not the case.
In Maryland, family law judges often include language in child support orders that make the payees financially responsible for more than just direct payments each month. While the language is unique for each order and based on a child’s anticipated needs, some financial stipulations are more common than others.
Judges use support orders to maintain a certain standard of living
Per the People’s Law Library of Maryland, the courts may use their discretion when creating support orders they feel are in the best interests of the children. With support orders, courts will attempt to help divorced parents maintain the lifestyle the children enjoyed before separation. The judge will use each parents’ income to guide his or her decisions.
Example language of tailored support orders
Though the language your support order may contain is likely to be unique to your circumstances, some stipulations are more common than others. A few examples of what you may have to pay for in addition to child support are as follows:
- Health and life insurance through your employer
- Half the cost of health or life insurance if you nor your ex has an employer-sponsored plan
- Half the cost of daycare, school tuition, morning daycare, etc.
- Half the cost of sports and other extracurricular activities
- The cost of roundtrip airfare and all other reasonable expenses associated with transporting the children for long-distance visitation
The bottom line is, you will likely have to pay for far more than what your monthly child support obligation covers. It is important to take these costs into consideration when planning your post-divorce living expenses and during support negotiations.