New Child Support Guidelines - Controlled Expenses
One very positive change is that the guidelines are now clear as to who must pay for the 'controlled expenses' associated with raising a child, such as the winter coat and the basic school costs. Furthermore, the definition of 'controlled expenses' should help clear up disputes about who pays for school books and basic clothes. Parents will decide who pays for these costs by designating a 'primary physical custodian,' or if they share equal time with the child(ren), they will need to designate someone as the person who will pay the 'controlled expenses'.
The amended order defines 'controlled expenses' as follows:
Controlled Expenses. This type of expense for children is typically paid by the custodial parent and is not transferred or duplicated. Controlled expenses are items like clothing, education, school books and supplies, ordinary uninsured health care and personal care. For example, the custodial parent buys a winter coat for the child. The noncustodial parent will not buy another one. The custodial parent controls this type of expense. The controlled expenses account for 15% of the cost of raising the child. The parenting time credit is based on the more time the parents share, the more expenses are duplicated and transferred. The controlled expenses are not shared and remain with the parent that does not get the parenting time credit. Controlled expenses are generally not a consideration unless there is equal parenting time.
This definition was much needed. Undoubtedly there will still be disputes over the basic costs associated with raising the child(ren), but the Supreme Court helped the trial courts, attorneys and parents involved with this definition.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The new guidelines do not change the fact that the cost of having your attorney argue over who should pay for the winter coat, is likely more than the winter coat itself. Buy two.