Divorce is hard. But, divorcing with children is much harder. And, if you are a parent who has separated from your spouse or partner in California, you may wonder how to cover the costs of raising your child until a formal child support order is issued by the court. In some cases, you may be able to seek reimbursement for child expenses that you paid after the separation, but before the child support order.
The date of separation
This is the date when you and your spouse or partner stopped living together as a couple and decided to end your relationship. The date of separation is important because it marks the beginning of your right to seek reimbursement for child expenses. You cannot seek reimbursement for expenses that you paid before the date of separation, unless you had a written agreement with your spouse or partner to do so.
The type of child expenses
You can seek reimbursement for child expenses that are reasonable and necessary for the care, education and welfare of your child. These may include costs such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, childcare and extracurricular activities. However, you cannot seek reimbursement for expenses that are excessive, unnecessary or unrelated to your child’s needs.
The amount of child expenses
You can seek reimbursement for the actual amount of child expenses that you paid after the date of separation, but before the child support order. However, you must be able to provide proof of payment and receipts for the expenses. You must also deduct any contributions that your spouse or partner made toward the expenses during that period.
The best interest of the child
The court will consider the best interest of the child when deciding whether to grant reimbursement for child expenses. The court will look at factors such as the income and resources of both parents, the needs and standard of living of the child and the amount and duration of the child support order.
If you want to seek reimbursement for child expenses after a California separation, but before a child support order, it is possible. You should also file a request for a child support order as soon as possible to ensure that your child receives adequate financial support from both parents.