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What Does Child Support Cover?

When two parents separate, child support is one of the most important topics to discuss and figure out. What is child support supposed to cover? What isn’t it intended for? How much should be paid? These are all critical questions that need to be answered.

Martin Attorneys, PA explains what child support is and provides tips on ensuring you are spending those finances correctly.

Defining Child Support

There are a few different types of child support payments that a non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay by a court. But before any type of payment can be ordered, the non-custodial parent’s income must first be determined. To calculate the income, courts will look at the parent’s:

  • Salary;
  • Wages;
  • Tips;
  • Commissions;
  • Bonuses;
  • Self-employment income;
  • Interests and dividends; and,
  • Any other type of regular financial gain.

Once the income is determined, the court will decide how much child support the non-custodial parent will have to pay.

What Child Support is Meant to Cover

Child support covers a wide range of expenses associated with raising a child. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Food;
  • Housing;
  • Clothing;
  • Medical care; and,
  • Education.

In some cases, child support may also cover childcare expenses. The amount of child support that is paid typically depends on the income of the parent or guardian responsible for making the payments.

What Child Support is Not Meant to Cover

When considering child support, it’s critical to remember that the finances are meant for the child, not the other parent’s personal expenses. That means that if child support is spent on something that does not involve the child, the other parent could find themself in legal trouble.

Examples of what child support is not meant to cover include:

  • A parent’s night out with friends;
  • A parent’s wardrobe; and,
  • Personal loans or other bills that do not involve the child.

Tips for Spending Child Support Correctly

As a parent, an individual must provide financial support for their child. But what they may not know is how to spend that money in a way that is beneficial for their child. Below are a few tips.

Put the Child's Needs First
Your child's well-being should always be your top priority when it comes to spending their child support. Make sure you only use the money to cover their basic needs. If there is anything left over, you can then consider other things like extracurricular activities or educational expenses.

Create a Budget
It can be helpful for a parent to create a budget for their child's expenses to ensure that all of the child’s needs are being met and there is no waste. This will also help a parent track where the money is going and make adjustments as necessary.

Be Mindful of Spending
Parents must remember that every penny counts when they are spending child support. Parents should avoid unnecessary purchases and stick to items that will directly benefit their child.

Communicate with the Other Parent
It is essential for both parents to communicate with one another about their child's finances. This will help avoid any conflict over how the money is being spent and ensure that both parents are on the same page.

Questions About Child Support?

If you have questions about spending child support or are concerned about how the other parent is spending your child support, contact Martin Attorneys, PA. Our family law attorneys are highly knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law. We provide parents with expert guidance and advice regarding their specific situation. Don’t let your questions go unanswered — contact us online or by phone to see how we can help. (479) 888-2039