Determining exact child support payment obligations is crucial following a separation or divorce. Both parties must understand the state’s laws about child support payments. If you are wondering what child support covers, this article will help!
Basic Child Support
Child support is designed to help with the normal and expected expenses associated with raising a child. Normal expenses typically include food, shelter, clothing, transportation and educational costs. Knowing exactly when to use child support funds can be complicated at first. Parents may use these funds to help pay for general expenses, including mortgage/rent, car maintenance and other purchases tied exclusively to the child. Other expenses to use these funds on can be more straightforward, such as school lunch money, seasonal clothing and school supplies. These expenses are directly related to raising the child.
The recipient of the child support is not required to inform the co-parent of said purchases or seek their approval ahead of time. Child support funds do not have to be kept separate from other household funds. While state child support guidelines will outline the expenses to be covered by child support payments, the recipient is usually allowed a certain level of discretion when allocating the funds. If a child appears to be neglected despite receiving child support, though, it’s advised to contact a family law professional.
Shared Physical Custody Child Support
Child support obligations can be modified in certain states when the parenting time is shared. Payments may be altered from standard guidelines to reflect financial responsibility the parents have with shared custody depending on the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
When physical custody is shared, both parents will most likely make purchases for the child related to food, clothing, schooling and other daily necessities. A parent who pays child support is not able to deduct these expenses from the regularly scheduled support payments, though.
Beyond basic expenses, many states will include additional costs when determining the financial obligations of both parents following a separation or divorce. Parents often wonder how extracurricular activity fees and supplies will be handled when child support is arranged. Unless specifically stated otherwise in the parenting plan, many parents will have to contribute to these expenses out of their own pockets.
Certain states, however, give courts the ability to order additional support for these extracurricular activities. This support is used to enhance the development of the child. Additional expenses can vary by state, so it’s crucial to consult a family law professional with any questions regarding support payments.
Other Child Support Expenses
Co-parents may wish to include provisions for handling expenses that would otherwise not be covered by basic child support payments when creating a parenting plan. If your state does not include extracurricular expenses when calculating support obligations, then parents sometimes negotiate shared responsibility for the activity fees.
Each and every child-related expense may not be covered by basic child support. If parents cannot agree upon the non-essential expenses, then the parent who feels more strongly about the purchase may be solely responsible for the cost. These obligations should always be approached with the best interest of the child in mind. Children have the right to be supported by both parents, and these obligations are designed to keep the child fed, clothed and set up for success in school.
It is vital to speak with a family law professional when going through this process. Each state will have different guidelines, so it is important to know the specifics of the region to ensure child support payments meet state regulations.
Source: “What Does Child Support Cover” Our Family Wizard https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/what-does-child-support-cover
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