Child support: What is Included?

There is a misconception that child support should only cover the child’s basic needs, such as food and clothing. In reality, the child support (or child support) must cover a range of expenses, which may include costs of entertainment, health and extracurricular activities, among others.

To help clarify this issue, the 50 states established rules of child support to determine the amount of money a parent must pay support. Therefore, the courts take into consideration a variety of factors, such as the parent’s income and ability to pay, the financial needs of the child and the amount of support necessary to maintain the standard of life of the child, if possible.

Even so, the courts do not require parents to demonstrate that the payments of child support they receive is earmarked for specific activities, unless, for example, in cases in which the child’s basic needs are not being met. The presumption is that the parent with physical custody of a minor to pay the expenses necessary for raising that child and, therefore, the courts do not control the expenses of the custodial parent.

Because the laws of child support differ among the different states, it is important to know the guidelines of child support in your state to determine how it can be calculated in your particular case.

Below you will find a list of what should be intended for the sustenance of children:

 Basic needs (food, clothing, housing)

Obviously, children need food, adequate clothing and a safe home and comfortable. As a minimum, the child support should be allocated to purchase supplies, snacks, beverages and other foods. You should also be used to buy shoes, jackets and clothing. Also, the livelihood of children should be used to pay the housing costs of the child, such as a mortgage or rent and bills for electricity, telephone and public services.

 Medical assistance

Children need basic medical care. Most states require divorced or separated parents have some kind of health insurance for your child. Typically, the parent with the better benefits covered by your employer must provide the health plan, dental or vision.

 Medical expenses not insured

The child support should be allocated to pay for medical expenses “extraordinary” or not they are insured. Medical expenses “extraordinary” include any cost in cash that exceeds the cost of a basic plan of health insurance, including copayments, deductibles, and costs for surgery. In many circumstances, the livelihoods of children should be used to cover these and other expenses, such as orthodontics, casts, eyeglasses, and other extraordinary costs of medical care (especially if the child has medical needs, pre-existing). Most states require that both parents divide the cost of the additional medical care (in accordance with the guidelines of your state).

 Education costs (school fees, supplies and other related expenses)

Education is not free, even if the child attends a public school. There are many costs needed to keep the children in school age. Therefore, the child support should be allocated to pay for various needs related to your education, such as uniforms/clothing, the costs of tuition, textbooks, lunch money and, if necessary, the tutors and private individuals.

 Child care

If one or both parents are unable to take care of their child due to work-related issues, then the child support should cover the costs of child care. This may include the cost of child care services, nannies, maids, and other costs or expenses of child care. You can also include the cost of child care during the summer months, spring break and some holidays.

 Transportation/travel

Because children must go from one place to another safely, child support must be used to pay the costs of travel and transport commodities. This may include the cost of maintaining a car with the expenses of gasoline, fees of the car, registration and insurance, or another type of transportation.

The child support should also be allocated to the costs of travel, especially when a child is traveling to visit the non-custodial parent, for example, lives in another area.

 Entertainment

Many courts have held that a minor has the right to entertainment base, which may include access to computers, television programs, games, and the Internet, among other things. This can also include trips to the cinema, amusement parks, travel, camping and other outings. Therefore, the child support should be allocated to the desires of the entertainment characteristic of the age of the child, as agreed by the parents.

 Extracurricular activities (summer camps, sports, and more)

The livelihood of children should be used to pay for the extracurricular activities of a minor, those that are held outside of school hours. This may include programs/classes after-school, summer camps, sports, clubs (e.g., Girl Scouts) and other activities not related to school.

 College expenses

In some instances, the livelihood of children should be used to pay the college expenses of the child. Many states claim that the education of a child should not be affected because their parents have separated or divorced. These states usually require that the non-custodial parent to contribute to college costs, even after the minor has attained the age of majority, if this attends college full time and still not graduated.

In conclusion, the courts will take factors such as the livelihood needs and financial essential of a minor and will reflect these needs in the order of child support. If the needs of the child change, or if there is a significant change in circumstances, a parent may need to request a modification of child support existing or to get in touch with a lawyer specializing in child support in your area.