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Making sense of what child support is supposed to cover

Child support is a lot more extensive in nature than many people think. It is designed to cover more than just the basic essentials of foods, clothing and shelter. It covers other things as well, including, but not limited to tuition, extracurricular activities, medical expenses and entertainment.

The guidelines for child support vary by state. Factors a court looks at include how much a parent can pay based upon income, what a parent's current expenses are related to the child's upbringing and how much money is necessary in order for the child's current standard of living to remain intact.

Although custodial parents are not required to produce records to demonstrate how child support payments are used, there are exceptions to this rule. One such situation that might merit this is a case in which the custodial parent requests additional child support to cover basic necessities.

How much a parent is required to pay and provide for varies by state. As an example, generally the parent with the most comprehensive medical coverage will be required to have the child included on his or her plan. For extraordinary medical expenses, costs are generally split between the two parents.

Even if a child is attending public school, he or she still will require money to be allocated for school clothes, books and lunch. They may also require after school care, as well as supervision on holidays and the summer.

Transportation costs may be included in child support calculations as well. This may include allocating funds to cover the cost of maintaining a vehicle to get the child to and from school, utilizing the bus, if applicable, or even the cost to visit a noncustodial parent.

Even once a child has reached 18, child support obligations do not necessarily end there. Instead, a parent may be obligated to contribute toward the support of their non-minor child, that is, provided they are still attending college full time.

If you or someone you know is seeking to get child support, or a child support modification, the advice and counsel of an experienced family law attorney may help you decide how to present your case with the greatest amount of clarity to help the court render the best judgment possible.

Source: FindLaw.com, "What does child support cover?," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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