Every biological parent has an obligation to take care of their child unless they sign over their parental rights. A judge generally orders non-custodial parents to pay child support to cover their child’s basic necessities. It’s often difficult for parents to understand what might fall under this umbrella. 

What are the basic expenses that child support should cover?

Child support can be rolled into the funds used to cover basic expenses for the household, like food, shelter and utility bills. It can also be used to cover the child’s extracurricular activities or entertainment.

While the child’s schooling may not be a significant expense in public school, there may be additional costs associated with tutoring, uniforms, lunch and other activities, like band or choir. Most jurisdictions’ laws expect you to use child support to cover these expenses. Those who wish to send their kids to private school or college, hire an afterschool caregiver for them or who are looking to enroll them in extracurricular activities may use child support to pay for all of these.

Most state laws require the parent with the best health care coverage to include their child on their policy. Most jurisdictions expect the parent recipient to take any support that they receive and pay for any medical costs not covered by insurance — unless the support agreement specifically says otherwise.

Other costs that state law may deem as basic expenses associated with raising a child include clothing, entertainment, and transportation. You can also utilize any funds that you receive on your child’s behalf to cover a portion of your household’s utility bills, rent or mortgage, internet or phone costs and groceries. 

What should you do if you don’t receive enough support?

It’s quite costly to raise a child. When the amount of child support you receive doesn’t seem adequate or fair, it may be time to seek a modification. An experienced attorney can help you learn more.