Payments in kind are the payment of expenses for, or to the benefit of, a child or children
Payments in kind may be considered by the court in a computation of child support
Those payments may be considered even if there is not a direct payment of money by one parent to another. Payments in kind can be particularly important in child custody and support “establishment” decisions or any determination of back support.
A child support “establishment” case is one where there has been no previous official child support “order.” In establishment cases there is typically a lag between the date when a party files or petitions the court for child support and the date when the court determines what the appropriate support amount is.
2 parents, we will call them “mom” and “dad” (please note I did not call them husband and wife because they do not need to be married) are blessed with a baby on January 1st. They live together for a time, let’s say 3 months. That puts us at April 1st.
On April 1st they separate for whatever reason. Dad does not pay mom any money but buys formula, clothing, diapers, etc. He spends two hundred dollars a month on those supplies. He sees the child, spends time with the child, and at least occasionally has the child at his house.
Then after three months of following this informal arrangement one or both of the parents becomes dissatisfied with the arrangement and one or both of them file papers on July 1.
While in disagreement the parties are civil and Dad continues to pay for those expenses while the court case rolls along and three months later, on October 1, there is a hearing. The Judge determines that the appropriate child support amount is $400 per month. The Judge MAY make his decision retroactive back to July when the case was filed. If the Judge did elect to make his decision retroactive the “in kind” payment of expenses by the Dad would almost undoubtedly merit a credit toward that retroactive calculation. With that said the dad gets credit of $600 for his “in kind.”
By Tim Conlon
The Custody Place
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