What do my child support payments cover?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child support on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Child support orders can spark some contentious battles between parents. Almost inevitably, the receiving parent would like to have more money and the paying parent would prefer to pay less. But what is important for both parents to remember is that the amounts calculated by Missouri courts are based on the resources of the parents and the the needs of the child.

Even if you don’t take issue with this, you can still be confused when it comes to what, specifically, child support is supposed to cover. Understanding what these payments are for can help clear up any misconceptions or assumptions that could be causing some contention.

Generally speaking, child support will cover a portion of the costs related to your child’s basic needs and expenses. This can include:

  • New clothes
  • School supplies and other educational needs
  • Essentials like food and shelter
  • Fees for extracurricular activities
  • Medical care
  • Cost of daycare if necessary
  • Entertainment expenses

Child support payments probably won’t cover all of these expenses all the time, but they will help custodial parents pay for these things and other things a child wants and needs.

This is not to say that child support payments must be specifically set aside for these exact purposes. In fact, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of how each dollar is spent because often payments act as reimbursement for a custodial parent who has already paid for the above-mentioned items by the time he or she receives child support. It is for this reason why courts generally will not request that the receiving parent keep accounting records detailing how child support is spent.

As long as everyone can get on the same page regarding child support obligations, these arrangements can be relatively free from conflict. If, however, concerns arise regarding a child’s well-being or a parent’s ability to make payments, a review and modification of support orders may be necessary.

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