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Extra costs of raising children to consider during divorce

Parents in Pennsylvania engaged in divorce negotiations should not assume that child support will cover what might be deemed an extra expense instead of an essential cost. For example, parents of younger children who need daycare could spell out the splitting of those costs in a divorce decree because child support calculations will likely not take that expense into account.

The divorce agreement presents an opportunity for parents to address these concerns before the bills come due. Costs will change as children mature, and extracurricular or enrichment activities might become the responsibility of only one of the parents if an agreement does not require the other parent to contribute. Academic tutoring, private lessons for music, dance or sports, camp attendance and school fees often add up for school-age children.

Even the costs for high school age or adult children could be covered in a divorce agreement. Who pays how much toward the purchase of a car or auto insurance could be decided at the time of a divorce. Additionally, parents could contemplate funding for college or a wedding before completing their split. Otherwise, anything left unaddressed by the divorce documents could open the door for one parent to avoid paying anything except the minimum child support amount.

A person who wants legal support during divorce negotiations could choose to consult an attorney. An attorney might be able to draw up paperwork that specifies long-term costs associated with extra expenses for children. Negotiations might also be managed by the attorney. Even after a divorce, a person may be able to work with an attorney to modify a divorce or child support agreement. Changes in income or the needs of children might be grounds for the attorney to approach a family court and request a new plan between the parents.

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