Many parents who aren’t their son or daughter’s full-time custodian pay child support to their co-parent to cover costs associated with raising them. Unfortunately, determining which expenses are reasonable ones that are coverable by child support isn’t always easy.
While child support in most jurisdictions is supposed to cover basic necessities, such as shelter, clothing and food, a parent can also use child support for numerous other peripheral expenses. It can be helpful to know what kinds of expenditures are permitted when using child support.
You shouldn’t take the phrase “food, clothing and shelter” too literally
Expenses associated with shelter include the electricity bill, phone service, water, rent or a mortgage. Food may not only include what you purchase and make at home, but any lunch money you need to send with your child to school. Clothing may include uniforms in addition to street clothes when school is not in session. In practical terms, child support becomes part of the household money for the recipient parent.
Other critical expenses that your child might have that can be covered by support include:
- Extracurricular activity fees
- Entertainment costs
- College tuition
- Child care costs
- Transportation costs
- Medical costs
Even in these broad categories, the kinds of things that child support may be used to cover can be very different. For example, transportation costs may include vehicle repair, gasoline, car payments, insurance and registration fees if you have your own vehicle or public transportation if you don’t. Medical care is inclusive of health insurance, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and co-pays.
How to determine how much child support to demand
Documenting all the expenses your child may have isn’t likely to be easy. You may find it helpful to review your bank records, emails and other documentation as you inventory what you’ve paid for over the past year. Doing so may provide you with a good baseline from which you can craft a request in your child support case.