In this day and age, the costs of raising a child can run quite high, especially considering rising educational and health care costs, just to name a few factors. Below are some common expenses that might be included in a child support obligation. The first question to ask is whether the expense is part of child support or outside of child support. Ultimately, there is no requirement in the law for an “accounting” of child support. This means that the parent receiving support has no legal obligation to disclose how the funds are spent.
Children need food, proper clothing, and a safe and comfortable place to live. At a minimum, child support may be used to purchase groceries, snacks, beverages, and other food items. It may also be used to purchase shoes, jackets, and appropriate clothing. Also, child support coverage encompasses payments for the child’s related shelter costs (mortgage/rent, lighting, telephone, and utility bills).
Health insurance premiums are included in the child support guideline calculation. Thus, the basic support obligation of the parent paying support is already inclusive of this expense.
Uninsured Medical Expenses
Parents generally must split the cost of additional medical care that is not covered by health insurance. This is usually done on a pro rata basis.
Educational Fees (Private school tuition)
Education costs for private school are incorporated into the guidelines. This means that if one parent is paying for private school tuition that it gets placed in the worksheet as part of the calculation.
This is treated just like private school costs. However, if the child is under the age of 6, then the court will NOT impute daycare expenses for work.
Travel expenses used to exercise court ordered time sharing is generally included on the guidelines for purposes of calculating child support.
Entertainment expenses are usually covered as part of the basic support obligation. This means that the parent paying support does not need to pay more in addition to the basic support obligation.
Extracurricular Activities — Summer Camps, Sports Activities and More
Child support coverage incorporates a child’s extracurricular activities — typically those that fall outside of regular school hours, such as after-school programs/classes, summer camp, sports activities, clubs (for example, Girl Scouts), and other non-school related activities.
Unless agreed otherwise in the court order, there is no obligation to support a child in college.
Courts consider a variety of factors including a parent’s income and ability to pay; the financial needs of the child; and the amount of support needed to maintain a child’s existing standard of living (if possible). Each parent has an obligation to provide financial support for their child’s food, shelter, and medical care, in addition to other expenses that child support coverage usually includes. If you’re thinking of filing a child support claim, you should consider having an advocate on your side to make sure your child is getting the financial support that is allowed under the law.