What Is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

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By Luciana Oliveira

One of the items that couples worry about when getting a divorce is child support and how well the kids will be taken care of once the parents no longer live together. There is likely to be friction between the spouses when trying to decide how much the children need to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed and which parent will be responsible for what expenses.

To arrive at a solution that will satisfy both parties, it is recommended that they work with a child support attorney that can explain the legal implications of child support and what it is supposed to cover. Let’s see what that might be.

What is Child Support?

Child support refers to the ongoing, periodic payment that one parent makes for the financial benefit of their child or children following the end of a marriage or other similar relationship. It is based on the understanding that both parents are obligated to support their children, even when they are living in different places.

Child support refers exclusively to financial support and does not involve emotional support, physical care, intellectual support, or any other type of support that a child of divorced parents might require.

What is Child Support Intended to Cover?

The purpose of child support is to ensure that the child’s needs are taken care of and that their basic living expenses will be covered. These involve food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education.

The court may also order the noncustodial parent to make payments to cover future medical and dental expenses for their children as well as expenses related to their summer camps and vacations and the costs of private or religious schools if applicable.

Does Child Support Include College Tuition?

Jurisdictions are split regarding whether a non-custodial parent must pay the educational expenses of a child that is over 18 years old. In these cases, it may be up to the parents to decide how these costs will be absorbed and by whom.

How is the Amount of Child Support Determined?

The final amount of child support may be determined by the use of a standardized income table and other factors. These may be the number of children that must be taken care of with this payment, how much income each parent makes, and what the custody arrangement is.

In general, the parent who pays child support will pay it directly to the child’s custodian and not directly to the child.

Can Child Support be Enforced?

Child support enforcement may involve locating the absent parent, establishing paternity, collecting and distributing payments, and enforcing compliance with court orders.It is a joint responsibility of federal, state, and local governments to enforce child support, but it is the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) that oversees the national child support program and provides funding, guidance, and assistance to state and local child support agencies.

These smaller agencies administer child support programs within their jurisdictions and provide direct services to parents and children.

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Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.

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