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What does child support actually cover?

Regardless of the fact that child support has been around since the beginning of divorce, some parents still do not understand what child support is supposed to cover. While many people believe that child support payments are designed to go exclusively to a child's basic necessities, the truth is, they are designed to cover many different expenses.

Not only is child support meant to cover the cost of the essentials of living such as food, clothing, and shelter, it may also go to cover extracurricular activities and medical expenses. Typically divorced parents are required to carry health insurance coverage for their children. The family court may decide that the parent with the most comprehensive coverage be required to cover their child's medical insurance. For medical costs not covered by insurance, child support can be used to cover them.

Educational expenses including school fees, tuition, lunch money and supplies may also be expenses considered to be covered with child support. If there are children not of school age that require child care, it may be assumed by the paying parent that their child support goes to cover this cost as well.

Other miscellaneous expenses such as travel expenses, summer camps, athletics and a child's access to entertainment may also be considered child support covered expenses. The family court uses specific guidelines to determine child support. They may consider individual incomes, the child's needs and the child's standard of living when determining child support. However, these guidelines may not take into consideration the many miscellaneous expenses discussed above. For divorcing parents concerned that the child support guidelines used by Family Court will not accurately calculate the child support needed to adequately cover expenses, speaking to a family law attorney may help.

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