What Are Child Support Payments Meant to Cover?

Family lawyers handle a variety of legal matters ranging from divorce, child custody, and child support. Even after the court has ordered child support, it is not uncommon for two parents to end up another legal situation because they are not adhering to the order or do not understand their obligations. If you’re experiencing a dispute over child support, it may be useful to talk with a family lawyer for more information.

What are child support payments meant to cover?

Child support payments are not only for bare necessities of a child. Rather they are meant to help cover a broad range of expenses including the following:

Food, Clothing, and Shelter
At the very minimum, child support payments should cover groceries, beverages, snacks, and other types of food. It can also be used to purchase clothing and shoes, and also pay for rent, a mortgage, and utility bills.

Health and Medical Care
Nearly all states require parents to have health insurance for their child. In general the parent with better employee benefits will also carry the insurance plan for the child. If both parents cannot afford insurance, a family lawyer might suggest alternative options such as Medicaid.

Out of Pocket Medical Expenses
If a child is not covered for certain medical expenses, or there are deductibles and copays of a treatment, child support payments can be used to cover these costs. For example eyeglasses, braces, dental surgery, eye surgery, and so forth. Depending on the state you are in, each parent may be required to split these costs.

Education
Regardless of a child attending public or private school, there will be fees involved. Child support can be used to purchase books, clothes, uniforms, meals, private tutors, tuition, and more.

Childcare
If both parents have work related obligations and require a nanny, babysitter, or daycare, child support should assist in paying for these needs. Payments can also go towards child care during vacation breaks and the summer time.

Transportation
Child support may be used to pay for gas, car payments, car insurance, and public transport. It can also be used for travel costs, particularly when the child is visiting his or her parent in a different location.

Extracurricular Activities and Entertainment
Many courts also hold that a child has the right to basic entertainment. This includes visits to amusement parks, nature outings, movies, and shows, as well as, access to the internet, computers, and games. Furthermore a child should be able to attend activities outside of school including girl or boy scouts, sports clubs, dance, and so forth. Child support may be used for these things, and as agreed upon by each parent.

College
Depending on the state and circumstances, child support payments may be used for college expenses. This might even include financial contribution to college after the child has turned 18. A family lawyer can help you to determine whether or not this is applicable to your child support case.

All states have established legal child support guidelines which help lawyers and the judge to determine a fair amount of child support a parent may need to pay every month. There are numerous factors considered with respect to this amount. These include the parent’s income and the needs of the child. Should these circumstances change, it may be possible to file for a modification in the order.

To learn more about child support, to file for a modification, or enforce a court order, please call a family lawyer such as the family law lawyer Rockville MD locals turn to.

Thanks to authors and contributors at Daniel J. Wright Law Firm for their insight into Family Law.