If you have young children and are considering divorce, the question of child support may arise. It’s wise to begin working with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney as soon as possible, so you can address questions of support and custody in ways that are best for your child.
Child support can become a contentious issue in some divorces. In order to prepare for negotiating support obligations and amounts, keep these four tips in mind:
- 1. Document your income and living expenses.
Collect the information you’ll need to verify both your income and your living expenses. This might include items like pay stubs, tax returns, and investment information. It may also include items like mortgage and car payments, loans, and other expenses.
- 2. Talk about activities and needs, not dollar amounts.
Most divorcing parents wish for a divorce to affect their children as little as possible. With this in mind, make a list of all your child’s current activities and particular needs, such as medical treatments or tutoring support. In order to keep your child’s world as “normal” as possible, both parents will need to share these expenses as well. Who will pay for lessons, uniforms, and supplies? How will this affect child support payments?
- 3. Keep track of your child’s expenses – including travel.
If the parents will live some distance apart, travel expenses – if the custody and visitation arrangement includes it – should be considered in the child support obligations. Keeping track of the child’s other expenses will also help to set child support at an amount appropriate for the child’s needs.
- 4. Remember that child support is for the child, not the parent.
If coming to an agreement on child support seems impossible, remember that the goal of child support is to take care of the child’s needs, not the needs of either parent. Work on setting aside your grievances with your former spouse and focusing on giving your child the best possible start in life.