What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is there to ensure that both parents support their child financially regardless of their relationship. Whether a couple remains friendly or moves far apart from each other, both parents have a duty to provide for their child. But what exactly does child support cover and who decides what the funds are used for?

What does child support cover?

Child support covers a number of needs.

Basic Needs

Basic needs include everything that a child would need on a day to day basis. Child support can be used to cover necessities such as:

  • Housing-related costs to ensure that the child has a safe place to stay. This can include rent payments for a home but it can also include mortgage payments.
  • Food and clothing costs to ensure that the child is well-fed and has well-fitting clothes for daily use and school.
  • Transportation expenses such as car payments and fuel, public transport costs, and also transportation costs for visiting friends, family members, and various activities.

Child Care

There are times where a parent may need to rely on child care services to look after their child. For instance, a parent that must work to provide for their child may need to hire a babysitter or keep their child in a care facility until they are able to finish work.

These costs will be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of child support. Factors such as how much each parent earns and how much time is spent with the child will also be factored in.

School tuition and related expenses

The custodial parent can decide how to best use child support to pay for tuition and school-related expenses. This can include stationery supplies, books, field trips, and even electronic devices for the purpose of education. Child support can also be used for tuition fees for private schools.

While the age of majority is 18 in most states, a parent may still be obligated to pay child support throughout their post-secondary education. Courts may consider factors like the parent’s expectations for the child, the combined financial circumstances of both parents, and if there are alternative sources of funding to provide for the child.

Related expenses may also include tutoring fees, summer camp costs, uniform and instrument costs, and extracurricular events and activities.

Medical expenses

Most child support orders include a requirement for both parents to pay a certain amount towards medical expenses. However, these calculations typically don’t include extra costs such as hospital visits and equipment such as braces. Many of these extraordinary costs are paid for by the custodial parent.

For medical insurance, courts and child support agencies will examine each parent’s situation to see which can obtain quality health insurance for their child. The cost of this health insurance will be taken into consideration. However, if the child receives state-sponsored medical insurance, then the courts will not include health insurance as part of the child support calculations.

Custodial parents decide how the funds are used

It’s worth mentioning that although both parents can communicate on how to use child support funds, the custodial parent has the responsibility of choosing how to use them to provide for the child’s needs.

If a parent objects to how the funds are used, it must first be proved by the objecting parent. Since this is a difficult task, these situations typically only arise when there is a gross misuse of the child support funds. This will prompt a child welfare investigation before leading to further action. However, most courts and child support agencies will not offer assistance if there is a simple disagreement or argument between parents on how the money is spent.

To conclude, child support funds should always cover expenses that are in the best interests of the child and not the parent. Children have the right to have both parents sponsor them and both parents can have a say in how the funds are spent. However, if there are disagreements over how the custodial parent is using the child support funds, then a case can be raised.

Contact Fiore & Barber for more information

If you’d like to learn more about child support or are concerned about the welfare of your child, don’t hesitate to contact Fiore & Barber today for more information. If you suspect that the custodial parent isn’t meeting your child’s basic needs, then it’s important to take action immediately so that the issue can be solved.

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