The cost of raising a child is extremely high, and it is difficult for a single parent to afford the living expenses on his or her own. After a divorce, the parent with the least amount of custodial rights and responsibilities are generally ordered by the court to make child support payments. The average cost of child support is $350 a month per child. The cost will fluctuate based on the needs of the child. Most divorce attorneys recommend including the following 3 provisions in your child support agreement to reduce or increase child support payment amounts.

When The Child Is Away from the Custodial Parent

If the kids have been sent off to summer camp, are living with their grandparents for the summer in a different country or even on vacation, your spouse does not need as much child support to support your child's living expenses. Outline a provision in the child support agreement that will allow for a reduction if the child will be away from the custodial parent for long periods of time.

The Cost of Going Off to College

Some states require for both parents to support their child financially as he or she goes through college. During this time, the amount of child support needed may increase or decrease based on the cost of living in dorms and other factors. To make sure that the child support payments are going straight to paying for college, you can specify that the payments will be made to the college rather than to the custodial parent.

Reductions Resulting from Unexpected Circumstances

Did you know that only 19% of custodial parents received the full amount of child support that was awarded by the courts in 2011? To avoid being unable to afford child support payments, have a divorce lawyer outline provisions regarding reductions for unexpected circumstances. For example, you may want to include provisions that will reduce the amount of child support that you will be required to pay in the rare chance that lose your job or get demoted. Reductions may also be granted if you need to pay for medical emergencies.


By taking the time to outline provisions in the child support agreements, you and your spouse will both fully understand what to expect. Both of you can expect fewer misunderstandings and conflicts, and will be less likely to have to file for arrears in court in the future, which in itself can be quite an expensive legal process.