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Mandatory & Discretionary Child Support Add-Ons

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This St. Patrick’s Day, instead of chasing that elusive leprechaun, start looking for these hidden reimbursement gems in your child support agreements.

You may just find a pot of gold.

Here are three common situations where we see divorced parents unknowingly leaving money on the table over and over.

Medical Expense Reimbursement

Your Kid’s Getting Braces

You’ve just learned your son needs braces – and it’s going to be expensive. Now what?

First of all, the primary parent of residence (PPR) has to pick up the first $250 in medical expenses per child annually.

It’s very easy to hit that $250 threshold when you add up copays, prescriptions, testing and so on.

After that, both parents should split the expenses in equal or proportionate shares. This comes into play when your child needs orthodontic work, like braces or a retainer, or will need to see a dermatologist or allergist every month.

Let’s say the PPR covers the first $250 for the year – and then she’s looking at $100 per month for the rest of the year (that’s $1,200 total – no small thing) for braces, she should ask the other parent for their share.

However, PPRs often say it’s not worth asking because they’re worried about the legal hassle or causing an argument.

No. Full stop. Let’s correct this right now.

The problem we often see is that the PPR will wait a few years, review how much they spent on medical bills without support from the other parent and then come to us to recover hundreds or thousands of dollars from their former partner years after the fact.

Think that’s going to cause an argument?

Frankly, you can avoid all that by approaching your former partner in the same calendar year you’re paying the medical bills and reach an agreement then.

Tip: Always track and document the medical expenses you’re paying out for this purpose (and also for tax records).

That way you’ll know when you hit the $250 threshold and when your former partner’s contribution needs to kick in.

Congrats, You’ve Got a Teenage Driver

Johnny’s 17 and ready to hit the road. Whoo hoo!

If you buy a new or used vehicle for the sole purpose of your Johnny driving to school and tooling around town with his friends, the outlay cost (or lease down-payment) should be split in income-proportionate shares between the PPR and the former partner.

Many times, though, we’ve seen PPRs who acquire a vehicle for their teenage child and don’t consult the other parent at all.

You know the scenario.

One parent thinks a used Buick for $800 is a good starter vehicle, and the other parent wants their firstborn to be driving a Mercedes. That often results in a this-could-have-been-avoided dispute about the reasonableness of the vehicle expense.

Communication is key.

Auto insurance is another area of contention – it would be unfair for either party to assume full responsibility for adding the minor child to their car insurance.

In an ideal situation, both parents would agree on a vehicle and identify who could most affordably add the child to their insurance policy – and then share that new expense in income-proportionate shares.

Considering that adding a new driver to your insurance policy could run you thousands a year, working with your former partner on sharing this could result in hundreds of extra dollars a month in your pocket.


Child Care Expenses

You’ve Got to Work, They’re in Daycare

Work-related childcare may be another lucky charm for you.

Many of our divorcing clients have young children, and often one or more are enrolled in full-time daycare.

With school-age kids, parents often use before care and aftercare services that their school or local community center offer.

These are considered work-related childcare expenses.

The parent who exclusively covers that cost (or if it’s paid by both) would receive a credit on their child support guideline worksheet.

Imagine this scenario: Mom enrolls two kids, aged 3 and 4, in full-time daycare, so she’s getting a credit on her worksheet.

Surprise! Dad’s child support is actually going up and will contribute in some way to those work-related childcare expenses.

Fast-forward four to five years down the line when the kids are enrolled in school full time and out of all-day daycare. At this point, they may just need beforecare or aftercare, or a babysitter, at a greatly reduced cost to Mom.

At that point, Dad’s entitled to request a recalculation of child support based on the reduction in work-related childcare expenses.

Whichever parent is paying child support could be leaving money on the table since the kids are in a less-expensive childcare situation. This is considered a substanial change in circumstances, allowing for a modification of the child support payment.

Related Resources For Contested Custody in New Jersey

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we support families in New Jersey facing custody disputes with invaluable resources. Our goal is to provide clarity and guidance in complex family law matters, helping you navigate this challenging process.

Our comprehensive resources cover essential topics, including New Jersey’s custody laws, including if NJ is a 50/50 Custody State, signs that may indicate the need for a child custody lawyer, effective strategies for preparing for a custody trial and establishing paternity. Explore our website for insights into each area.

Our legal team also has worked with clients in matters of Child Support and can address your questions. Whether it’s a child’s name change, understanding child support add-ons, fulfilling obligations for adult child support, or a parent’s responsibility to contribute to college expenses in NJ, we offer guidance and support.

Please note that while our information provides valuable guidance, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice. For tailored advice that suits your unique New Jersey custody case, contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC.

If you need help reviewing your situation to see if you’re entitled to any of these reimbursements, contact us.

Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.

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