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What Does Child Support Cover?

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What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is intended to cover basic living expenses that are “reasonable” and necessary for the child’s upbringing.  These can include expenses related to:

  • Food and nourishment
  • Clothing
  • Housing
  • Medical expenses
  • Educational costs (such as books, supplies, fees)
  • Some extracurricular activities (such as after school programs or some sports)

Again, the main idea is that the child support should only be dedicated towards the child’s needs that are necessary for their proper and safe upbringing.  Child support amount calculations will be different in each case depending on the facts of the claim.  Proof of need may be required for certain expenses.

What is Not Covered By Child Support?

Child support is not required for any unnecessary items or unneeded expenses for the child.  For instance, luxury items are not included in child support, nor are unnecessary costs such as extensive out of town vacations.  

Some expenses are considered “gray areas” in terms of necessary child support.  These can include:

Again, each court will make an individual determination as to whether certain expenses should be factored into a child support award or not.  They will examine factors such as each parent’s earning capacity, and the needs and capabilities of the child. 

For instance, one judge might rule that additional child support is needed for college expenses.  However, a different judge in a different area might rule otherwise depending on the facts (for instance, if the child is already receiving support from a scholarship).  Cost of living may also differ greatly from region to region.

What if I’m Not Sure About a Particular Expense?

Any questions or changes regarding a child support order should be submitted to a court.  The judge will then conduct an analysis to determine whether the requests involve valid usages of child support.   All court-ordered child support instructions should be followed exactly by all parties.  Legal consequences can result from violating a child support order.

Is a Lawyer Needed for Child Support Issues?

It is very important for the child that issues such as child support be handled properly and in a timely manner.  You may need to hire a qualified family law attorney in your area if you need assistance with any child support questions or issues.  Your family lawyer will be able to provide you with legal advice on how to deal with child support concerns.  Also, your attorney can provide you with representation if you need to attend a court session.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-09-2017 12:02 AM PST

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