Married parents often don’t sit down and think about the actual costs of raising a child. They’re conscious about many of those costs because they’re spending their money to meet them, but they don’t sit down and chart it all out. 

This can lead to some confusion when you end up getting divorced. Say you get primary custody of your children. They’ll see your ex every other weekend, but they live with you. Most of the ordinary costs of raising them will fall on your shoulders. As such, you ask for child support. Your ex sees the number and counters that there is no way you need that much money just to raise the kids. He or she does not want to pay.

Is the reality that you’re trying to get too much money or is it just that raising children costs more than your ex believes? 

It’s probably the latter. Have them take a guess at the cost of raising an infant until they’re old enough to move out. Then tell them that a 2017 study estimated the real cost at more than $233,000. Some have said that inflation could push it up another $50,000 from there. Plus, that’s always going upward. Wait five years and it’ll be even more. We’re not far from needing more than $300,000 just to raise a child. 

Also, that’s an average. It’s far more expensive to live in California than in, say, Michigan or Iowa. That $300,000 could actually be far under what you’ll really need. Regardless, you can see why it’s so important to understand your legal rights. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what kind of financial support is reasonable for your situation.