How to Split Expenses for Kids in a Divorce

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

How to Split Expenses for Kids in a Divorce

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Expenses for children continue during divorce proceedings and after a marriage ends. There are schooling costs, medical bills, clothing, and food. Parents and courts determine how to split those costs. Since both parents are still caring for their child, they must bear the costs. There are procedures set up to make a fair determination for your child's expenses.

Woman using her laptop and calculator at a desk, while an infant plays on the carpet behind her

Child Support During Divorce

Most people think child support is provided after divorce is finalized. That's not always the case. Divorce proceedings can take time. During that time, your child still needs to be cared for financially. Since you and your spouse are ending your marriage and no longer living under the same roof, this can create problems and disagreements about how to share the costs.

If you and your spouse can determine for yourselves how to split your child's expenses, that is the best scenario. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible. Generally, the court will have to consider the factual circumstances regarding your divorce when choosing what type of temporary child support to award during divorce proceedings.

Pendente Lite Support

Unless a court orders otherwise, no parent is required to pay child support during divorce proceedings. However, this could negatively impact your child's life. If divorcing parents can't agree, a court may step in and order child support during divorce. The court calls this pendente lite support.

When a court orders pendente lite support, the court requires the non custodial parent to pay a certain amount of money to the custodial parent each month until the divorce is finalized. The amount of money required will vary but a court will do its best to make sure your child is living in similar conditions to when the family unit was whole. This type of child support will end as soon as the court finalizes the divorce.

Extraordinary Expenses

There are some expenses for your child that will not be covered under child support. These are considered extraordinary expenses. Extraordinary expenses can include sports, allowance, and summer camp. The parents must divide these expenses. The easiest way to cover extraordinary expenses is to split the cost evenly with your child's other parent.

Child Support After Divorce

Many people think child support is for the custodial parent. It is actually money provided to keep your child living the same or similar lifestyle had they been if you and your spouse remained married. When you've made the decision that divorce is right for your family, that is when the process of determining child support begins.

A court will first determine which parent receives primary custody. The primary custodial parent will generally have your child live with them. If you're not the primary custodial parent, that doesn't diminish your value or mean that your relationship with your child will end. But it does mean that your child will spend more time with your former spouse. For that reason, you'll probably be ordered to pay child support to your former spouse to cover expenses for your child after your divorce is finalized.

If you and your ex-spouse want to split expenses for your children after divorce, consider your options and work on the best plan that is right for the both of you.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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