DIVORCE AND CHILD SUPPORT
DIVORCE AND CHILD SUPPOORT
As a parent, I understand at age 18, a child is typically not financially independent from their parents. I find it strange the laws of TN state that child support payments end when the child is 18 and has graduated from high school. It is important to understand child support payments DO NOT have to end when the child turns 18 and graduates from high school. The parents can agree to extend child support payments through college or, even past college. Children with special needs can require life-long care and support.
Typically, the child support received once the child is in college would be at a reduced amount. The reduced amount should be sufficient to cover groceries when the child comes home from school, birthday presents, expenses for the parent to visit the child during parent's weekend etc.
It is also important to understand child support does not pay for extracurricular activities, camps and non-covered medical expenses (co-pays etc.). These expenses are typically shared pro rata, in the same ratio as the parent's incomes.
It is critical for divorcing parents to carefully consider the needs of their children and discuss current and future needs during divorce discussions. This minimizes either parent making incorrect assumptions and upheaval when the family is trying to heal post-divorce.