What Children Costs are Shared in a CA Divorce?

Mandatory and Discretionary Expenses:

There are qualifying expenses that are in addition to the guideline child support amount. These are called add-ons, either mandatory or additional. Mandatory must be included in the child support order. Additional add-ons are sometimes referred to as discretionary and depend on your agreement or whether a judge will order them.

There are two mandatory add-ons that must be included in any child support order; child care and uninsured health care costs. The child care costs which are included are for when one of you is working or going to school, even if the care is not incurred during your custodial time. Your children’s uninsured healthcare costs are expenses like co-pays and deductibles, not the monthly premium which is already included in the child support formula.

In addition to mandatory, there are two categories of additional add-ons. These are not required but you can choose to include them or the judge has the option to order them. You can include costs related to your children’s education or special needs. This includes private school tuition, tutoring, special needs programs, and extracurriculars like sports, art, and music. You can also include costs incurred to travel for visitation for parents who live far from each other.

Each parent will be required to pay one-half of the add-on expenses unless the parents agree to a different division or a parent successfully requests that the judge order a different division. If you request a different division, you will need to prove to the judge why a different division would be more appropriate.

Payment of Mandatory and Additional Expenses:

You will also need to include a method in your child support order to pay the mandatory and additional add-ons or a way for you to be reimbursed if you paid more than your share. There’s already a required payment and reimbursement method for uninsured healthcare costs, which you can use for all add-ons. A detailed explanation is on the Notice of Rights and Responsibilities, FL-192, which must also be included with your divorce agreement. You can

also create your own payment method, such as doing all reimbursements on the 15th of every month

The add-ons can be deducted from your monthly child support as part of your order. If they are not, don’t deduct the reimbursement yourself. If you do, you will have a hard time proving that child support was paid. Instead, have your spouse reimburse you separately from your child support payment.

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