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What Does Child Support Cover?

By Iafrate & Salassa

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When a child’s parents divorce, a child support order is typically part of their divorce settlement. This is to ensure that the child continues to have his or her living expenses covered after the divorce, rather than forcing an undue hardship on him or her.

Child support is used to cover all of the expenses of raising a child, not just the basic necessities like food and shelter. Child support may be used to cover the child’s entertainment, extracurricular enrichment, and in some cases, his or her college expenses as a young adult. If you are a parent considering filing for divorce, speak with an experienced family lawyer about what you can expect from all aspects of your divorce, including child support and parenting time orders, as well as how you can advocate for your rights and interests when these orders are determined. Below are five categories of expenses that can be covered by child support.

Basic Living Expenses

These include food and household goods for the child as well as the cost of adequate housing for him or her. Household utilities are part of this cost. Transportation costs can are also included in this category, which can include the cost of a vehicle large enough to transport one or more children, the costs of fueling and maintaining it, and any public transportation costs incurred by the child.

School Expenses

A child’s school expenses can be as simple as notebooks and pens or it can involve private school tuition, costs associated with extracurricular activities, and tutoring costs. A parent with legal custody of his or her child can make decisions about his or her education, including whether the child attends public or private school.

Medical Care

Generally, one parent is required to cover the child on his or her health insurance. Money received through child support can be used to cover the expenses of insuring the child. It can also be used for medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance, such as over-the-counter medication and co-pays for doctor visits.


Daycare and babysitting costs are also expenses associated with raising a child and as such, may be covered by child support.


Child support can be used to pay for a child’s entertainment and enrichment as well. Although these are not necessarily critical to one’s physical well being, it is not uncommon for child support to be expected to cover these costs because of the emotional and intellectual well being. A child’s entertainment and enrichment can include access to books, films, television, video games, and extracurricular activities like scouting and sports.

Work with an Experienced Clinton Township Family Lawyer

As a parent with a child support order, it is important to know how your money is being spent. If you suspect that your former partner is not using the money you pay to care for your child, speak with an experienced family lawyer to discuss potentially modifying the order or taking other legal action. Contact our team at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office.

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