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  Posted to group - Money matters    <<Previous    Next>>

What does Child Support cover?

And another money question....


He pays me child support.  I am unsure what that is supposed to cover. (besides food, housing, medical, daycare)

Am I responsible for paying for everything they need such as all clothing, school lunches, textbooks, etc?  The provisional order specifically states how much medical I am supposed to cover, but does not mention anything else.

When the kids need shoes, if he buys them do I reimburse him.  Do I have to buy everthing, how does all this work?


Ergh.  It all comes down to money, doesn't it? 

by Bumble   55 Posts 
Posted on 6/15/2012 9:29 AM
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Answers for "What does Child Support cover?"  (8) (You must be logged in to answer)

I am Child Support Agent and depending on the state you live in, child support is for the care of the child. When a child support obligation is set up this is all the noncustodial parent is required to pay. They can also be set up to carry insurance on the child until they reach the age of emancipation, however, it all depends what was set up in the initial court order (separation agreement or divorce settlement). Hope this helps.
by Danielle88   1 Post
Posted on 10/11/2015 8:34 PM

I don't know what everyone's experience is with this but sometimes items that I buy end of staying in my ex-es house. My daughter then cries for the item and I end up buying it twice...

by psychdaan   4 Posts
Posted on 7/22/2013 3:22 PM

Depending upon the terms of your judgment, you may be able to avoid the expense. If the terms of your judgment require your written approval, agreement in advance to specific dollar amounts, or a set length of advance notice to respond to the proposal, and your ex-wife did not comply with these requirements, then she may be found to have acted unilaterally and is solely responsible for the cost. These types of conditions are routinely advised by experienced family law attorneys representing fathers. Conversely, attorneys who are less familiar with the issues or who represent the custodial mother may propose vague language which gives the mother a "blank check" so that the father must pay regardless. 
by ChristinaHernandez   168 Posts
Posted on 8/17/2012 2:58 AM

Thanks everyone!  that helps.  Kind of a gray line on some things, so I guess you have to negotiate with the co-parent.

Thanks again!
by Bumble   55 Posts
Posted on 6/19/2012 11:27 AM

My ex and I equally split the cost of school lunch, all school and activity fees, any extracurricular activites and any expenses like cell phone bills, health insurance premiums, health club dues, and medical and dental copays.  I also reimburse him for half the health insurance premiums for the kids, since he carries them on his plan at work.  I carry my son on my car insurance, so every six months I call Nationwide and they give me two figures:  what it would cost to carry me only, and what the difference is when we add my son.  My ex pays half that.   


If I get my daughter a haircut, I pay.  If I buy her clothes, I pay.  If I buy her a bike, it stays at my house the majority of the time.  If I take her to a waterpark or a movie, or if she goes with a friend on "my time", I pay.  If it's for school or Girl Scouts or 4-H, we share the expense, regardless of who has her that day. 


She's taking a Red Cross CPR/First Aid babysitting course on my evening.  We share the cost.


I buy her the majority of her clothes and personal items simply because it's akward for a 13 yr old girl to have her dad take her to be fitted for bras.  Her dad pinches pennies when it comes to anyone but himself, so I also buy her things like hairbrushes and hair ties, because he buys the cheap crap you can't even use without pulling your hair out. 


I'm sure he fudges the numbers, because he will use any opportunity to "screw" me.  If he gets off on having me pay an extra $50 for health insurance when he makes 3 times as much money as me, fine.  It's not worth the hassle requiring receipts, but if it got out of hand I would demand it. 

by Iam   7316 Posts
Posted on 6/16/2012 6:20 AM

It's my understanding that child support is meant to make sure that the kids' standard of living isn't significantly different whether their parents are married or not. The custodial parent uses the funds to take care of all the kids' expenses - rent/mortgage (unless that's dealt with someplace else), utility bills, day care, groceries, clothing, etc. - while the kids are under your roof. If a noncustodial parent wants to buy their kids something, that's above and beyond - you don't have to reimburse him a dime. Check your state's website - my state has a really good website for child support - explaining everything - because in my state, if a parent's name is on the birth certificate, that parent can be held responsible for providing child support if the child doesn't live with that parent (if a child has to be removed from their parents, it's a different ball game).


We're here for you.

by NotJulieG   3319 Posts
Posted on 6/15/2012 6:13 PM

When you are awarded child support, it is meant to keep the children as close to their regular standard of living in the custodial home prior to the divorce. Keeping the home, keeping the electric on, not having to eat ramen noodles etc, basic clothing....if the kids are with you during school time, then yes, lunches are your responsibility...but textbooks - should be split. 

As much as the paying parent likes to think that "okay, I pay child support, so I don't have to pay anything else" - that isn't true. Child support is only a court's "best guess" as to the basic needs of the child(ren) based on the facts provided - extra things come up, and that means BOTH parents are going to be responsible. What is important, is that in your final decree - how extra things, like extra curricular activities for example, will be split. So the discussion about expenses doesn't stop the second a temp agreement and amount is reached. 

When it comes to clothes, you have every right to say hey, I'm sending them in what they have on, it is your responsibility to have the things they need when at your home, otherwise they go without.
by spaznskitz   11339 Posts
Posted on 6/15/2012 5:55 PM

Child support covers anything that directly or indirectly affects the kids. You want to use it to pay the utility bill? The kids live in the house and use light, heat, water, etc. The mortgage? The kids live under that roof. The car payment? You need to take them to school, daycare, doctors appointments, etc.

Get the idea?

I believe that healthcare is separate from child support. To an extent, anyway. Child support is to help you support the children. Now I think they could possibly lower his child support costs if you were covering the kids on your insurance and suddenly lost your job and he had to cover them, but I think it depends on your particular situation.

If he decides to buy the kids a pair of shoes or to cover half the school supplies when back-to-school comes around, that is at his own discretion, and it is up to you whether or not you count it toward his child support. Technically, you don't have to, I don't think. Especially if he is paying directly to your state's disbursement unit - then it gets tricky. If he's paying you directly, then it's your choice whether or not to deduct it from his child support.

Good luck.
by marybecca2   1575 Posts
Posted on 6/15/2012 11:07 AM

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