Basic necessities and more — what child support covers

On behalf of South Tampa Law Group posted in child support on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

Providing necessary financial support is just another part of being a parent. This is relatively straightforward when a child lives with their parent who deals with all of those little daily costs as they arise, such as paying the rent, buying groceries and making payments during doctor visits. Less clear, however, is how Florida parents should split these costs when they are no longer married. Child support orders ensure that children continue receiving that financial support from both parents, even if they are divorced.

In general, primary custodians can expect to receive child support from their exes. These payments should cover a range of child-related expenses. Most obvious are the child’s basic necessities, which covers things like a safe and comfortable home, food and adequate clothing. Medical care — including insurance premiums and co-pays — can also be covered by child support.

Unfortunately, many parents operate under the false idea that child support they pay should only cover these very basic necessities. In reality, child support can go to any number of expenses, including educational fees or school supplies. This could mean buying new uniforms, hiring a tutor or paying for extracurricular activities. Childcare costs such as those for daycare, after-school care or babysitters can also be covered by child support payments.

Paying parents should not expect an itemized list of where support is going. Not only would this create an immense burden on the parent receiving the payments, but it would also be incredibly difficult. What portion of the mortgage applies to the child or their room? How much of a week’s purchased groceries went into their lunchbox? Instead, the court expects that the parent who receives child support will use it in a manner that he or she believes will best benefit the child.

Even when it means providing financial support to a child, making payments to an ex can be an uncomfortable and frustrating experience. Still, it is still an important aspect of post-divorce life that most Florida parents must deal with. Should either parent worry that their payments are too high or that they are not receiving enough, it is possible to petition the court to request a needed modification.