Parents are obligated to provide for their children’s basic support. In addition to basic support and in accordance with the Child Support Standards Act guidelines, parents are also obligated to pay pro-rata shares of “Mandatory Add-On Expenses.” Examples of mandatory add-on expenses are daycare costs and required health expenses. On top of the Mandatory Add-On Expenses, the California Court may decide on additional Discretionary Expenses for child care or education.
This means that non-custodial California parents are obligated to pay:
- Regular child support
- Their share of their child’s daycare costs due to the custodial parent working or going to school in order to obtain gainful employment
- Their share of the costs of the child’s health insurance premium, copays and other uncovered health expenses.
- Any other expenses that the California court awards as additional expenses related to daycare or education.
On top of guideline child support, the California court can order parents to contribute to particular additional expenses that directly benefit the child or children. Child support add-ons fall into one of two categories: mandatory or discretionary. Mandatory add-ons are related to child care costs or reasonable uninsured health care costs and the judge will generally divide mandatory add-on expenses in half.
In situations where there is a significant income disparity, the judge may apportion the expenses according to the income of each parent (after support is paid). Discretionary add-ons can be ordered as a contribution towards additional expenses related to the children that are not part of the child support guidelines. There are three basic types of discretionary add-on expenses: costs related to education or special needs of the child, travel expenses for visitation, and extracurricular activities. Common discretionary add-ons include private school tuition, tutoring, preschool, transportation to visit long-distance non-custodial parents, and typical extracurricular activities like sports teams, clubs, etc.
If you have questions about how child support is determined or what the court may determine to be discretionary add-ons in your situation, please get in touch with one of the California family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.