What Does Child Support Cover?

Friday, March 2, 2018

 What Does Child Support Cover?

When the court develops a child support order for a divorcing couple, it uses a set of guidelines that include the couple’s combined income, the standard cost of raising the number of children named on the order, and any special needs or considerations for one or more of the couple’s children. Once the child support order is in place, one parent regularly makes payments to the other to help with the costs of raising their children.

Once the recipient has money received through child support, he or she can use it in any way that benefits the couple’s children. A paying parent cannot “earmark” money for specific expenses – even if a check is cashed then used for something not directly related to the couple’s children, it still benefits them if it allows the parent to use money from another source to provide for the children later. When children do not receive the things they need despite one parent receiving child support from the other, though, the paying parent has the right to seek a modification to their child support order and timesharing schedule.

Below are the categories child support is meant to cover.

Housing and Household Goods

A parent who consistently spends a substantial amount of time with his or her children needs to have a home large enough to accommodate them. A larger home has a larger rent or mortgage payment and higher utility bills. Money received through child support can offset all of these expenses as well as household goods like groceries and personal items.

School Supplies and Extracurricular Costs

A parent can also use child support money to cover the cost of supplies the school does not provide, which can be school uniforms, notebooks, pencils, and the cost of school lunches. Similarly, child support can be used to purchase items for extracurricular activities, like sports gear and instruments.


As any parent knows, childcare is not cheap. Often, money received through child support is used to help cover the costs of childcare, whether it is regular daycare or more sporadic babysitting.


When parents have a timesharing schedule in place, they need to transport their child to each other. Parents also need to have larger vehicles than adults without children and depending on their children’s ages, can need car seats. All of these expenses, along with fuel and car insurance, can be partially covered by child support.

Entertainment and Enrichment

Courts recognize children’s need for enrichment outside of school and entertainment in the home. Spending money on toys and experiences like summer camp can benefit the child’s psychological and emotional well being.

Discuss your Child Support Order with Draper Law Office

As a divorced parent, you want to know that the money you pay in child support is being used to care for your child. If you have any doubt that your money is being spent properly or if you need to modify your child support order, work with an experienced family lawyer to have your case investigated and potentially altered. Contact our team at Draper Law Office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with us.


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