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What expenses should child support be used for?

Are you paying child support? Do you receive child support payments every month?

Whether you're paying or receiving support, it is very important to have a clear understanding of how the money should be used. You want to make sure your children are taken care of, and you also want the finances to be handled fairly.

Is it just for necessities?

Many people believe child support is only for necessities like food, clothing and housing. While it's true that payments can help in those essential areas, it's important to note that the money is available for many other expenses. Here are some things child support can help pay for:

  • Basic costs: As noted above, this includes food, clothing and shelter. Common items include groceries, snacks, shoes, school clothing, mortgage, rent and utilities.
  • Medical care and uncovered expenses: Children require proper medical care. Even if the child has insurance coverage through one of the parents, there may come a time when an expense is not covered.
  • Child care: In many situations, one or both parents are unable to care for a child because of work-related duties. Child support may be available to pay for daycare and other child-care needs.
  • Educational fees: Even if your child attends public school, extra fees are common. Some of the most common educational costs relate to supplies, trips, textbooks, lunch or breakfast, tutors and uniforms.
  • Entertainment: Some parents don't know that child support payments can help cover basic entertainment expenses, including access to things like cable TV, internet, movies and video games.
  • Extracurricular activities: Children of all ages enjoy a variety of extracurricular activities, including things like sports, band, clubs and summer camps.

Know where the money is going

With so many ways to use child support funds, you should take the time to better understand where your money is going. If you're paying child support, you want to know that the other parent is using the funds in an appropriate manner. If you're receiving child support, you must have a budget that keeps you on track and allows you to spend the money in accordance with your child support order.

If you run into any issues with child support (like a parent who is not paying) you'll want to learn more about your legal rights and determine how to take action.

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