Child support is designed to help custodial parents care for their children after a divorce. Essentially, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying a monthly sum that goes towards the cost of raising the child. However, many custodial parents find that child support does not cover all the essentials, meaning they end up providing far more in terms of financial support for their children.
Depending on how the child support order is drawn up, custodial parents may be surprised to find that there are many expenses that are not considered to be essential. These can include afterschool care and academic tutoring. Additionally, there are certain school costs that may not be covered, such as the cost of a school uniform, sports and activity fees. If the child wants to take music lessons or play sports outside of school, the custodial parent may be shouldering those costs on their own as well.
These essential costs do not always end when high school is finished. In some cases, custodial parents may find themselves assisting with college funds, like books, living expenses and food. However, if the custodial parent wants their child to have an enriched life, they should be aware of what their child support covers and budget accordingly.
A family law attorney may help a custodial parent understand what th child support order entails and what the support money can be used for. If the custodial parent's financial situation changes and they can no longer afford to cover the essentials, the attorney may assist with seeking to modify the court order. Otherwise, the attorney may work the cost of some of the essentials into a parenting plan that would otherwise not be covered.