Support modifications and back-to-school shopping disputes

With the start of a new school year just around the corner, parents who are separated or divorced may be preparing for the annual dance (or fight, depending on the personalities involved) around who is going to pay for school supplies. This decision commonly comes about because the non-custodial parent who pays child support may not be so inclined to put forth additional money to pay for items he or she may believe should be taken care of with a child support payment.

However, the custodial parent who receives such support may explain that the monthly support payment is not enough to cover the expenses of raising a child (i.e. food, gas and clothes) along with the additional expenses that come with the start of a new school year. For instance, the costs of new sports leagues, electronic necessities (e.g. a computer or cell phone) and other expenses may not be covered through a support payment.

A frustrated parent in this position may consider bringing a motion to increase support. However, this may be an instance where the court may not be so inclined to increase a support obligation simply because there are extra things to buy. Indeed, there may be periodic cost of living increases that may be ordered, but unless there is a substantial change in circumstances (i.e. a significant pay raise or a job loss) experienced by one of the parents, the court may expect parents to work out their differences regarding back to school costs.

If you have further questions about child support modifications, an experienced family law attorney can help.

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