Legal Guide

Child Support Law: What Does Child Support Actually Cover

When two parents separate and a child or multiple children are involved, the family court judge will work to create a custody agreement. In that custody agreement, a child support agreement often states the monetary sum that the non-custodial parent is set to pay to the custodial parent each month. This money is used for a range of different expenses, and it is helpful to know what they are.

What is Child Support?

Child support is a monthly amount of money that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent for general upkeep and care of the child in question. The amount of child support is determined using an equation specific to the area in which the claim or the motion is being filed. Amounts vary depending on number of children, needs of that child, and the amount of money that the non-custodial parent makes at their place of employment.

What Does Child Support Cover?

When a judge is considering how much to order, child support covers a specific range of things. When thinking about what child support actually covers, it is also helpful to discuss what it does not cover.

Child support does not cover:

  • Personal expenses of the custodial parent
  • The debt of the custodial parent
  • Purchases for the custodial parent

What Child Support Covers:

  • Basic needs and costs
  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Medical care
  • College expenses in some cases

Child support is designed to help the child or children keep the lifestyle they were accustomed to when both parents were together. It is designed to make the process as easy as possible so that your children will still get the care they need, even if one parent is no longer in the household with them and is no longer contributing to the income of the home in which they spend most of their time and where they live.

How is Child Support Determined?

As mentioned before, child support depends on a few different factors that figure into an equation used by the court to determine how much money is to be paid. It takes factors like the income of the person paying child support is. If they do not have a high-paying job, the support will be less. It also takes the needs of the child in consideration. A great example would be a child with an ongoing medical condition. This support would be higher to help pay for that medical treatment.

The last factor that is taken into consideration is what it will take to make sure that the child’s standard of living does not change despite the new living arrangements. It is helpful to look at an example. Say that one parent makes $50,000 a year and the other makes $25,000. When they were together, they lived in a three-bedroom home that was spacious and well kept, and the child was able to pursue after-school programs and get new clothes regularly.

When the parents split, it is essential to make sure that the standard of living does not deteriorate, even if the child ends up living with the parent that makes less. Most courts are not going to require that you prove what you are spending your child support on one thing or other unless there is a dispute that is being had. In as simple of terms as possible, child support goes toward the support of the child and paying for what the child needs to maintain the life they had prior to parents splitting custody.

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