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Supplemental child support is awarded when there are extenuating circumstances or “supplemental needs” that might require a parent to seek an amount of support greater than what is typically ordered for their situation. Keep in mind, however, that seeking an amount above and beyond the standard rate can mean bringing the issue to court or arbitration, unless your former spouse is kind enough to agree to it. This can make the divorce more contested and conflict-ridden.

Factors considered in awarding supplemental child support

There are several circumstances under which a court or arbitrator might consider it appropriate to award a higher amount of child support:

  • If the custodial parent has higher living expenses than usual.
  • If there are special educational needs, such as with gifted or handicapped children, or if a child had been attending a private school.
  • If the family is well-to-do financially, and thus has grown accustomed to a higher standard of living than otherwise expected.

Alternate minimum child support requirements

If a parent has insufficient income to meet the normal requirements for child support, then child support awards may be set at a lower amount. Some states have mandatory minimums; others may set a ceiling on child support payments, stating that the amount paid cannot exceed more than x-amount of a person’s total income.

Of course, if someone simply has no money, you can’t get blood from a stone, and so a child support award does no good if there’s no possible way for the person to pay it. However, it still might be beneficial to seek some type of child support, even if the person is financially indigent at the moment. Since the amount owed will begin accruing from the date of the order, it’s possible you might eventually be reimbursed should this person’s financial circumstances change down the road.

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