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What is covered under child support payments?

When courts make decisions on a divorcing couple, whether it is child custody or child support, their primary concern is the best interests of the child. And this philosophy extends into what is covered by child support as well. Despite many people's beliefs, it extends well beyond the basics of food, clothing and shelter.

The first thing that courts look at is the financial situation of both spouses. Every effort is made to maintain a child's standard of living. This is why you often see divorced celebrities or wealthy people who are paying tens of thousands of dollars in monthly child support. The transition from a married couple to divorced spouses should be as seamless as possible from the perspective of the child or children.

As such, the amount to be paid is determined while keeping in mind the salaries of both the custodial and non-custodial parent.

Beyond food, clothing and shelter, child support payments may also be applied to medical care, uninsured medical expenses such as prescriptions and co-pays, as well as other associated costs such as dentist visits, eye glasses and other special medical needs. Support payments also cover educational fees for both elementary and high school, as well as college expenses and the associated costs such as school tuition and supplies, as well as extra-curricular activities such as sports, music supplies and lessons and after school programs and activities. If the custodial parent works, child support payments may also be used to cover childcare, as well as transportation costs, including costs associated with visiting the non-custodial parent. Child support payments also extend into entertainment and social events for the child, including but not limited to computers and video games, vacations or trips to the movies, amusement parks and camping trips.

One cannot understate the importance of protecting a child or children during and following a divorce and courts prioritize the well-being of a child during the child support decision-making process. Keeping this in mind, it may be wise to seek advice from a legal professional familiar with family law as you enter a divorce to make sure that the decisions are in you and your child's best interest.

Source: By findlaw.com, "What Does Child Support Cover?" Accessed on Dec. 29, 2015

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