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Drafting a budget to determine child support needs

If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms as you head toward divorce, the two of you may want to have a conversation about what child support payments realistically need to look like. Many parents will simply draft up a budget to see roughly what it will cost to raise the child. These costs can then be divided up and spread out over the year. Below are a few things that could make the cut:

1. Buying clothing for the child must be considered. It’s probably easiest to look at the clothing needs for the whole year, if buying all of the clothing for the upcoming school year in the summer, for instance. However, the cost in child support should be more spread out, divided evenly over the next 12 months.

2. The mortgage or the rent could also factor in. If you’re going to live in the home with the child, and it’s just the two of you, you may just cut the monthly mortgage in half.

3. The cost of utilities can be divided up just like the mortgage. Since they change so much in Maryland — heating bills are higher in the winter, for example — it may be best to look at the yearly cost, split it in half, and then divide that by 12 months. Food can be factored in this way, as well.

4. Finally, don’t forget about the extra costs. This could include things like the cost of playing sports at school or going to summer camp.

When you start off with a budget like this, you can have a good foundation for a fair payment plan. Be sure you always keep your own legal rights in mind, especially if you feel your spouse isn’t going for a fair resolution, but is instead trying to swing things in his or her favor. Your Maryland family law attorney can work to help you with this.

Source: Family Education, “Child Support: What's Fair?,” accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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