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What costs are covered by child support payments?

Some people may think that child support payments are only meant to cover a specific set of costs or expenses. To the contrary, though, child support payments cover a wide array of costs and expenses and, in fact, the way child support payments are spent by a receiving parents aren't tracked -- except in one specific case.

If the child's needs are going unfulfilled and the child support payments that a parent receives are not going towards the basic needs of the child, then a court may step in and start monitoring how the money is being spent. But if the parent is fulfilling his or her obligations to the child and spending the child support money to take care of the child (especially the basic needs of the child), then a court won't monitor how that money is spent.

Even though these payments aren't usually monitored, some parents may not know what their payments can go towards. So let's outline some of these potential uses of child support payments:

  • Food, shelter, medical care and general needs. These are the basic needs of a child, and they should always be fulfilled.
  • Education fees. Tuition (even college) and school fees, the cost of school supplies and other costs associated with schooling can be paid for through child support.
  • Childcare. If both parents are busy at a certain time, then the child will need to be cared for. Child support can be used to pay for a babysitter or a daycare service.
  • Other expenses. Going to the movies; playing sports; participating in extracurricular activities; traveling to different areas; all of these things cost money, and child support can go towards those expenses. 

Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?," Accessed April 27, 2016

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