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Child support is for necessities, not extras

Child support is money meant to provide for the kids, and it often works to even out the input from both parents. You have the kids living with you 90 percent of the time, for instance, and your spouse pays support so that you're both contributing to the costs.

One key thing to remember, when determining how much support is needed, is that it's for necessities. Many things that children want or even that parents think they should have are extras. This is why child support sometimes feels like it's not enough.

For example, perhaps you and your ex split the time with your kids directly in half, but you earn more money, so you're paying support. Your ex is barely employed, bouncing from one part-time job to the next. You have a steady, six-figure salary.

The kids are going to notice a different standard of living. They may not be as comfortable when staying with your ex.

For example, at your ex's house, they don't have cable television and a 70-inch TV. They eat simple meals from the bargain grocery store, rather than going out to eat. They don't have their own rooms, but have to share a room in his two-bedroom apartment.

Technically, they certainly have what they need. Parents sometimes get frustrated, thinking that child support isn't enough, but it may be. If the children are safe, healthy and well cared for, the necessities are being provided, even if the extra amenities that they enjoy aren't always there. Remember that child support is to provide for them, not to give your former spouse extra income and change his or her standard of living.

Child support can be very complicated. Be sure you know your rights and legal options, especially when you and your ex disagree.

Source: Huffington Post, "Child Support: The Debate That Never Ends," Lee Block, accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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