Today we start a series of posts inspired by questions and conversations we had in recent past with our customers who have minor children and our using our divorce services.
The basic principle in a divorce case with minor children is that both father and mother are obligated to provide financial support to their minor children throughout the life of the divorce proceedings, and after the divorce is complete, and until the minors are 18 years old.
Typically child support is payable to the parent who has custody, by the other parent. This is because the parent who has custody of the minor children tends to have more expenses to take care of the children, including food, lodging, travel, healthcare, and all sorts of activities.
However, there are many additional – shall we call them extraordinary – expenses that are not typically included with the payment of child support. Some examples might be sports related activities, extra curriculum classes like piano, dance or math, or summer camp, school trips, private school tuition, even driving lessons for older children are considered extraordinary.
If you look at The Document People’s fillable Children (check out https://www.documentpeople.net/questionnaires/), you’ll find those expenses on section 8 and 9.
The extraordinary expenses can be divided between the parents in any way the couple agrees to, and since extraordinary expenses are not covered by child support, parents must find a way to divide these expenses fairly. There are two popular ways that extraordinary expenses are divided. The first approach reflects the parents’ respective incomes: For example, if a father earns 60 percent of the total income between the two parents, then he would pay 60 percent of all extraordinary expenses and the mother would pay the remaining 40 percent.
The other approach is simply to have each parent pay 50 percent of the extraordinary expenses. Occasionally marital settlement agreements have a provision requiring each parent to ask the other parent permission before incurring an extraordinary expense for the child that is more than a certain amount (ex. $500).
While a Los Angeles divorce is pending, a custodial parent may need money in order to pay for the children’s basic needs. This is more common when the parents live in separate households while the divorce is pending. If this occurs, the court will enter a temporary court order that only lasts until the divorce is finalized. A noncustodial parent is usually required to contribute money each month to make sure the children’s needs are met. Whatever amount of money is ordered at this time is likely to change once the divorce is finalized and the actual amount of child support can be determined. For temporary orders, the court usually looks to the current situation during the marriage. This means the court will require the noncustodial parent to pay enough money to the custodial parent so that the family can continue to enjoy the same standard of living that occurred during the marriage.
The Document People is a network of legal document assistants, paralegals and notaries. We offer divorce services and child support modifications orders in Los Angeles County and Orange County at the We the People Woodland Hills, We the People Santa Monica, San Fernando, We the People Glendale and at The Document People Torrance, Anaheim and Oceanside stores.

The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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