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What does a child support payment pay for?

Child support is designed to be paid to the parent who has one's child living in the home. There's been a misconception in the past that child support only covers the costs of a child as in terms of the bare necessities: food, shelter, medicine, and so on.

The truth is that child support payments cover other things as well. It covers expenses like extracurricular activities, school fees, medical expenses, entertainment, and more.

While a parent's ability to pay will always be considered, the child's needs in terms of an existing standard of living are what matter most to the courts. The courts don't require parents to prove that they spend child support on specific activities, unless it's discovered that a child's needs aren't being met. It's assumed that someone with physical custody of a child is paying for the necessities, therefore removing the necessity to monitor the parents' spending habits.

So what do child support payments cover?

The main items child support is meant to cover include food, clothing, and shelter. These are the absolute basics and include things like shoes and jackets, payments toward the home, and even payments toward utility bills.

Medical care is also partially the responsibility of the other parent and is covered with child support. Even uninsured medical expenses can be paid for with child support; additional medical care costs are usually split between parents, because in a traditional couple, both parents would be footing the bill to cover their child's care.

Other covered items include childcare, educational fees, and transportation. Entertainment, college expenses, and extra activities like attending a summer camp may also be covered by child support.

Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?," accessed March 25, 2016

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