If you're a parent in the Midwest, then you know that raising a child can be an expensive endeavor. Merely feeding children can be enough to send shockwaves across one's financial foundation, let alone clothing, schooling and extracurricular expenses. Fortunately, all parents should share in the financial responsibility of raising their children. This is why the law allows for custodial parents to seek child support from their noncustodial counterparts.
There is often some confusion about what child support can actually cover, though. While many think of child support as being narrowly tailored, it is, in fact, rather broad in nature, thereby encompassing a whole host of child-related expenses. Sure, basic necessities like food and clothing are taken into consideration when calculating a child support order, but so, too, are childcare, entertainment and even college costs.
One major cost associated with raising children is medical care. One trip to the doctor can quickly balloon an already unexpected bill. Child support may be able to help. While a parent who has insurance may be court ordered to include his or her child on that policy, a noncustodial parent may also be ordered to pay a certain portion of medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance. This can be a financial lifesaver for custodial parents.
When calculating a child support obligation, the state generally looks to established guidelines while considering factors such as the parents' income, the child's needs, and the child's standard of living. Although many cases adhere to the guidelines' recommendations, circumstances may justify deviation. Also, a life change may warrant a child support modification to either increase or decrease the noncustodial parent's obligation. In short, there are a number of ways that this issue can go, which is why Midwesterners who are dealing with child support problems should make sure they have a legal advocate on their side who will fight for their interests.