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What is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

Updated on June 6, 2015

Introduction: What Child Support Covers

Since the advent of child support, custodial and non-custodial parents have been arguing over what the money is supposed to cover. Unfortunately, many supporting parents are still under the misguided belief that child support is supposed to be used for groceries and clothes—and that’s it. The truth is quite the opposite: child support is supposed to cover a wide range of expenses, including things like family outings and after-school sports. For those parents out there who believe they are paying too much in child support, perhaps you should consider exactly what your weekly payments need to cover.

This article will address the general scope of what child support is meant to cover, including:

  • basic needs
  • education
  • medical care
  • child care expenses
  • entertainment, and
  • extracurricular activities.

Basic Needs

At a bare minimum, child support is supposed to cover the child’s basic needs—and not just food and clothing.

  • To start, yes child support is used to pay for groceries, clothes (including school and “play” clothes), shoes, and seasonal outwear (like winter coats and boots).
  • It is also used to help pay for the mortgage or rent, the electric and utility bills, the telephone bill, and yes, even the cable and internet bill. That’s because your child needs a place to live, working electricity, running water, heat, and a way to contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Your former spouse can also use your child support payments to help cover the car payment and insurance, especially if she or he uses the vehicle to drive your child back and forth to school, sports practice, friends’ houses, and your place for visitation time.
  • Your child is also entitled to basic entertainment, which includes cable television, and access to the Internet. Unless you are willing to permanently disconnect your cable and DSL connection, your child is equally entitled to have access to the same basic entertainment as you.

Education Costs and Resources

After accounting for your child’s basic living expenses, child support is also supposed to cover the costs of your child’s educational needs.

  • For children in private school, this means part or all of the tuition fees, required uniforms, shoes, textbooks, and other supplies.
  • For children in public school, this means school clothes, backpacks, notebooks, binders, pens and pencils, project supplies, lunch money, and any other costs incurred for educational purposes.
  • If your child needs tutoring or has special education needs, child support is supposed to cover those costs, as well.

Medical Care Expenses

Your child is entitled to at least basic medical care, which child support should cover.

  • This is not limited to just the premiums for health and dental insurance, but also co-pays, prescriptions and emergency treatment.
  • Even if you are already paying to provide your child with medical insurance, your child support payments should help cover the additional costs incurred for your child’s visits and treatments.

Child Care Expenses

If your child is still young and needs child care, then child support should cover the costs.

  • If your former spouse is working and you are unavailable to watch the child, then she may use the child support to pay for daycare services, babysitters, and other childcare expenses.

Entertainment Costs

One of the biggest complaints that non-custodial parents cite is the use of child support for entertainment for the child. In fact, child support is supposed to cover entertainment.

  • Entertainment includes trips to the movies, playgrounds, outings and other age-appropriate ventures. Your child has a right to enjoy at least the same standard of living as he did prior to you and your ex’s separation, and at least equal -- if not better -- than your standard of living.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Extracurricular activities include after-school or municipal sports programs, school clubs, summer camps, and private activities outside of school.
  • Child support should help pay for these costs—especially if your child was already participating in these activities prior to you and your former spouse’s separation.
  • Even if your child was not previously active in extracurricular activities, he or she is still entitled to participate in age-appropriate endeavors if he or she so desires.


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    • aemma wilson profile image

      aemma wilson 6 months ago from Irvin

      Really nice Information , thanks to provided us , I'm fell good after reading all Article.

      please share more and keep sharing


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      Joseph Hyan 2 years ago

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      ELIZABETH 2 years ago

      Just wanted to thank you and let you know how much you have helped me. since my divorce from a21-year marriage. It started out being one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted in my life. After a spell, My ex sent me an apology email and i sent him a response the next day…within seconds he called me and asked to see me and was crying because he was glad I was talking to him. We are starting out very slowly again as friends (which is difficult for me since I am still deeply in love with him). An interesting note is this is a long distance relationship and your DR.MALAKASIMU spell still worked!! I am so happy to have him in my life again.Thanks again,


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      PB 2 years ago

      I pay $975/month in CS for my 3 children. My ex has 65% custody and I have 35%. Since our judgment in January 2015, she and her new husband have gone on 2 week-long cruises and I have had to watch the kids during that time. At the end of every month, she sends me a list of "expenses" that she asks me to pay 1/2 of (like clothes (over $1700 in 2015), sports fees/gear, school supplies, birthday party's for the kids at her house, school activity spending money, etc). I feel like most of this should be covered by the $975/month that I pay in child support. I have considered filing an abatement of child support when she goes on these vacations. What is the minimum number of extra days that I need to have the kids to abate a portion of the child support?

    • Abu Abbas profile image

      Abu Abbas 2 years ago

      A bunch of BS written by a sick feminist who works at the child support agency for the dick sucking judges who make those money hungry decisions.

      Are you telling me that if the custodial parent didn't have the child, she won't be paying for her own rent/mortgage? her own cable internet? her own insurance /gas? she will be homeless cuz there is no child support for her to suck on? She needs those paid by someone else just cuz she has a child living with her? See, thats why i don't feel sorry for when yall get shot. see this bullshit? If you can't look after the kid without support , give him/her to the other parent whose wages you are garnishing from just to feed your dumb ass selfish purposes. If the states and their stupid judges don't come up with these sick decisions, these women won't be demanding to keep the children if there is no childsupport. Just like the other commenters said, "Fuck you and your Bullshit!"

    • Grecco Gina profile image

      Grecco Gina 2 years ago

      hello ok so do you think anything can be done regarding my husband paying child support for his daughter. I just read what support is suppose to cover. My husbands' ex hasnt worked in years. She has a son with her first husband that she collects support from. She has my daughter who I send support for and has two more kids with this guy who was a fugitive when they met. He got caught, went to jail,When he got out,they got married. Now I hear they are getting a divorce. Not that it mattered because he didnt have a job either. But getting back to what MY support for MY DAUGHTER is suppose to pay for, my ex doesnt have a car,therefore no payments or insurance is needed. The utilities have been shut off from time to time and the house is being foreclosed. Which means she hasnt been paying for the mortgage. And my daughter who is 8yr always tells me about who dropped off a bag of used closed for her. Not that hand me downs are a bad thing. But my money isnt going to my daughter at all. Any suggestions if there is a way to reduce my support. Do you think a judge would take all this into consideration and reduce support? If I dont send my support, i will go to jail. If my ex doesnt use my money for my daughter, its ok. She should have to show proof of where the monies is going. EVERYONE SHOULD!

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      Hazell 2 years ago

      If your 16 year old decide to be with his father for the summer does your child support stops and is it right for the father to say since he be here Mon-Fri for the summer that he should be able to keep the child support even though I the mother supplies extra clothing and pay for and still for hair cuts movies, summer school? To me that's seems unfair. I don't mind cause I do work I get 300 a month I agreed to have it at 300 cause it was 649 a month but he told me he couldn't no longer do it so I said ok and he pays me 150 every 2weeks. But it's when I asked him for help with school clothes when he said that about him being at his house for the summer it's frustrating because I still give my son money for extra things get his hair cut etc. Is this right

    • profile image

      Elie 2 years ago

      Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank child support guidelines to fill out?

    • profile image

      Jessica 3 years ago

      If the child you pay support on doesn't live with his dad can the dad still get the support

    • profile image

      JohnnyDoe613 3 years ago

      Why should the father help pay housing expenses? If the mother is unable to provided for the child should the father be granted custody?

    • profile image

      SUSIE 3 years ago

      Sussy 2 years ago

      i GET CHILD SUPPORT FROM MY HUSBAND FOR 3 KIDS. We are 60% me and 40% him. He now thinks because he gives me child support He never has to buy a stitch of clothing again. My argument is I buy 60% of their clothing he should buy 40%. So the question is Dose the resceiver of it have to support the child at the other house? Meaning if the children need clothes at their dads do I( who is getting child support) have to buy her clothes for his house as well? or should he be getting them what they need and wants at his house????

    • profile image

      BED 4 years ago

      Child support is extortion and justly unfair. Both parents are supposed to be able to care and provide for the children in equal terms. How can you tell me that is being accomplished when one parent is barely able to provide food or a home for themselves let alone their children.

      I make $60K a year for a family of three and pay over $1K in support a month we live in a two bedroom apartment and cant pay bills let alone count on food everyday for ourselves and when we have the other children we are expected to provide for them too. And if you don't heaven help you.

      Its an outrage the money i pay out is atleast twice as much as my family has to live on. And dont say well you make enough my ex makes twice as much as my self and saves more a month than i pay in child support owning two homes and writes off her expenses with work and........ this is after we were divorced so i am all about taking care of my children but i KNOW that is extortion as i live day to day taking care with far far less.

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      mark. 4 years ago

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      pat 4 years ago

      is it illegal for you parent to use your child support for other things other than for you like her own needs and not mine

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      luz 5 years ago

      Starting my testimony is hard, But i must start to say to all that Mr. Primo Samarkand the personal assistant in wema loan firm is an honest man and also the Woman herself Mrs. Wema Sundas which is also bearing somers as her middle name which is the sole owner of the loan firm were Mr. Primo is her personal assistant is the best as she is really a woman that have come online with her loan offer to wipe always the tears of everybody. Before i push forward to what make me creat this time out of my precious and busy time to tell the whole world about this testimony that happened to me in this loan firm or on how i got my loan from this loan firm, I will want you all to know that i am a citizen of USA, And my names are Luz .E. Morales. As this advert is to save millions of people in this world we are leaving on today. I am not referring to those that need loan urgently now or that are in financial debts but to all existing humans that are leaving on this earth, Because there is nobody that is above loan as loan is meant for the rich and the poor. Because i am opportuned to have a very good Job over here is USA, With that Job i was leaving comfortably with me not been able to raise much funds from my salary to build a good house, get a good car and to invest in-case i decide to stop government work. The reason for that was because i can just start saving much money as if i try to do it, It will take me years to have large funds to do or to execute the plans that i have for myself and my family. But with a loan i can get any dream archived by asking for a large sum from a dynamic, reputable and a registered loan company like mrs wema loan firm were i asked for a loan amount of $150,000.00 to get my dream car and to invest in my business, And in this loan firm there list duration is 25 years which i went for and the terms for the loan was been calculated for me which was also suitable for a kind of person like me that earn just $1200 a month. I am so happy because i have really been on the internet for the past 3 years now trying to seek loan from a registered loan firm that will not rip me off my money just like two did to me and my wife last year which really made us own more debt after loosing the sum of $14,500.00 to scam loan firms on the internet, Since the local bank over here has denied us of we getting such a huge amount of loan from them, Which also made me vowed never to apply for loans online again, But this year as i was going through a website i meant a post by this loan firm from Nigeria { I know all that has been scammed before now like me know this country to be full of scammers that can never grant loans but always after your money by telling lies and what do not exist on loan transactions, But please mind you all that is reading through this my testimony and advert to this loan firm that they are reputable, When Mrs Wema Somers called me on the phone by herself that she is based and located in Nigeria, I wanted to stop the transaction as the two scammers that scammed me were from Nigeria. But my lovely wife gave this woman her ears to tell her things that she should know that the fact that there are a lot of scammers in this country do not make them one, That she is the C.E.O of this loan firm that she should please just do what is been requested of my wife that in God name she assure us that we will get our loan amount in question after what is requested of us has been done. I also said to my wife NO !! That this might be another scam,But my lovely wife said that something inside her is telling her that this is not a scam that we should give this woman a trial. And our dream loan was gotten from Mrs Wema Loan firm and i personally was surprised that there is a loan firm like Wema loans in such a corrupt country that is so full of scams } And i and my wife sent our application to them and be patient to hear from them and also patient all through the loan process. Sincerely as i am telling this to world now, I am still very much surprise that i got a loan online and from such a country with bad names in the internet. The main more reason why i tired all i could to share this to the world is to try and make sure that people in need do not apply for loans from scammers online but from wema loans alone, As they are the only person that has been able to prove to me and to so many other individuals around the world that they are God fearing,Reputable,Dynamic and truthful to grant loans to the poor and to the rich that need more funds to establish. If you that is looking for loan is sending email to the following email address : . to get loan, You are not making any mistake at all as you are on the right way.

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      Brian 5 years ago

      I just found out my ex is going to sue me because I didn't buy my son a car for his 16th bday. I pay wkly child support and I assumed that would cover the cost of a car. Is that not the case, will I have to go back to court and buy my son a new car?

    • profile image

      5 years ago reference to W's comment 3months ago....maybe if your wife & children didn't get evicted because the main provder cheated ...moved right in with a serial homewrecker & abandoned his family to be left for dead on the streets....your childrens mother wouldn't have HAD to move inwith the chilren's grandmother...espeially when the mther had only a part time job because the main provider didn't want her to work!! And while thekids father is being paid for by an insecure serial homewrecker that has no children & uses money to buy whatshe wants!! The father lives large while the wife of 20 yrs strugges everyday to survive with her kids...and one child is disabled!!! Don't pat urself on the back know what you did...stop playing the poor me act....when it was the children that suffered becaue of your can't even make up for the damage u did &ow u want to complain about that! It's all you ever cared about....and you're kids see it too....what a sad...but thank you....for opening our eyes :)

    • profile image

      Anthony 6 years ago

      Child Support Overages!!! They've been taking DOUBLE the amount from my check for about a year. Come to find out, it was a huge mistake, but everyone is pointing the finger at someone else. At the end of the day, I'm out of 7k. The lawyer won't give me any info unless I give him 2k for the case. I wanna know who's at fault??? They all say I should go after the parent...

    • profile image

      Spare 6 years ago

      I cannot believe some of the comments on this page. Those of you who have to pay child support only to the tune of $250 a month are acting as though all of this is going towards "her" hair and nails or "his" new wife/children? Since when does someone live lavishly on $250 a month? And if they do, could you please enlighten me as to where they live so I may move there and live rather lavishly too? Now, back here in the real world (you know where most of us live) I receive (dv) $649 a month for my daughter from her father. Do you know what this covers? Her child care and that is it! Meaning what I have to pay someone to watch her while I work. Her father earns $60,000 a year and I earn $41,000. I pay for her medical insurance, her clothes, her food (which consist of formula right now). I will be moving to a larger home because I will need the extra bedroom and space. I will not receive a penny more in child support nor will I ask for more than I receive. I get manicures on a regular basis and have for years (long before my daughter was born). Does this mean that now that i am receiving child support I should all of sudden stop doing something I can afford to do, have been able to afford to do? No, it does not. My child is clothed, fed, looked after whilst I am at work, her medical needs are taken care of and she is given all the love and care she needs. Do not get me wrong, if I had to sop getting manicures because the money needed to be put towards her, I would, but some of you acting as though your ex is living the high life on CS money are a bit ridiculous. I know there are greedy ex's whose only concern are getting more money, more money and more money and I truly feel sorry for the people who have to deal with them. I hope you find the fairness and peace you deserve.

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      Jennifer 6 years ago

      My husband pays $360.00/week in child support for his now 19 year old son. We have been married for 18 years and have 4 kids together that still live at home. While I do agree that he should be paying support as the boy is his son, I do not agree that they should be able to take so much for one child. We don't spend $360 per month on all 4 of our children put together, not to mention each one. We struggle to make our mortgage payment (currently in a modification process to prevent forclosure), our car payments, and struggle to keep the power bill paid. We eat a lot of Ramen Noodles because there's not much left for groceries after paying our bills and daycare. Our kids wear Kmart & Walmart brand clothing, excell in school and are rarely in trouble while the child support recipient wears all brand name clothing, has the best of everything, and just got busted for marijuana possession. Yeah, it's hard not being a bit resentful because my children have always been deprived while one gets everything handed to him.

      Just thought I'd put a voice in for the "other side of the fence."

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      Good man 6 years ago

      Lets start with im being taken avantage of I pay 600.00 A Month for one child and I pay for the health care GOOD HEALTH CARE,extra money for christmas,birthday,ECT she lives in a big 4 bedroom house that's new with a guy that makes twice my monthly income and the guy has three kids and she has Three kids by difernt dads. I totally agree with the expenses list at the top of this page but I did not see on the list TATOOS,HAIR,NAILS,BEER,CIGS,and taking care of FIVE KIDS THAT ARE NOT MINE. My WIFE and I see these things going on it is fact im not making this stuff up and the state of califorina does not care and yes Im married to my wife that is pregnet with our third child we live in a small two bedroom 1 bath mobile home in a tralier park my income is 1100.00 every two weeks We dont even spend $600.00 a month on two KIDS.stuff like this needs to stop there are moms out there that really do need help and are getting 175.00 a month. CHILD SUPPORT SAYS SHE MADE BETTER CHOICES THAN ME AND THERES NOTHING I CAN DO???????

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      Tonye 6 years ago

      My girlfriend and I have a child together, the child does not live with us. If me and my girlfriend split up, can she file for child support even if the child does not live with her?

    • profile image

      Infoseeker 6 years ago

      I have a 16 year old son with my first marriage. Now I have 2 other kids with my second wife. I been paying child support since my son was 2. My ex-wife recently asked for modification and the judge granted her $1200.00 a month plus $4000.00 that she had payed In counseling.Now since child support increased it has been very hard to provide for my second family. not only that but my ex-wife now she is asking me to keep paying for more counseling which is another $300.00 a month and she is also asking me to pay for my son's football sport and also she mentioned she wants to buy him a car because he just got his driver license. I really don"t know what else to do since all my credit cards are up to the limit and I am about to lose my house. what should I do please advice. I love all my kids but it seems that the child support I pay my ex-wife is not really helping with any of my son's expenses.

    • profile image

      MDitt 6 years ago

      I pay child support to the custodial parent. My son is asking me for a bike. I don't want to put him in the middle and evade talking to him about it. I would think that the cost of a bike would be covered by the money that I am paying in child support. In the mean time, my ex joined a bowling league. She is not making an sacrifices. I associate her effectively using child support money to pay for her bowling league. IMO, this borders on stealing. How should I handle this?

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      If child is going over for weekend visits do we send our clothes which we did but we never get the clothes back so now what do we do with this shouldn't the other parent have clothes also

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      Me 6 years ago

      "John 2 months ago

      I have a partner who had a child when we first got together, her father had died in a car accident.

      i have 3 children that live with my ex.

      My new partner and I have two kids together now.

      what I am wandering is my step daghter doesn't have he rfather paying child support because he is deceased however child support doesn't take this into calculatoin as I am the one supporting her and myparnter is a full time mum with the two babies, so is not able to work at this time. Where does that leave my stepdaughter? it seems as though she has just been over looked. I have no problem paying child support for my kids but I do believ child support needs to look at all situatoins. They keep saying your kids deserve a equality of life, but wheres my stepdaughters equality of life?"

      I believe this is something you would need to have the mom contact Social Security about. Sometimes you can get survivor benefits for benefit of the child based on what the father would have provided to her.

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      peachy 6 years ago

      My husbands child is going to his grandparents for three months, I'm wondering if my husband has to pay child support to his x or to his grandparents? I mean, the child will be at his grandparents all summer, he want to help them while his son is there but we can't afford him to pay child support to her and also support them. He pay her $1400 a month. Anyone know if he can do something about that?

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      qppwowhociwbffrbv 6 years ago

      I lost my job a couple of years ago and my children had to sacrifice cable, cell phones, extracurricular activities, sports, vacation and much more. My wife and I struggled for years to get back on our feet. So how would it have been if the same thing happened but I was instead divorced with support obligations. I guarantee only one side of this equation would have had to sacrifice their standard of living.

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      minnie mouse 6 years ago

      All the women who play victim, showing your own children how to be weak, watching the children suffer for selfih reasons, riding the court system, holding innocent loving fathers hostage during their one life (takes two to tango), letting the best years of your childrens life be cluttered with comments and negativity that does not belong in their ears, poisoning innocent kids with the depression that rots your soul for the ill personal choice of sticking the sword deeper into your ex's heart, using the system and low budget attys just to get 30-200 dollar increases....knowing darn well that the kids won't see it and the benefit of coming out of pocket for the hideous amount, though you have built up atty fees that are higher than the amount you won....quit working for 2 years with an 18 year old and 15....drained unemployment, 300 pound kid, broken court orders.....why does the system allow this, i cannot shake this fat ass ho off my husbands jock. poor choice, divorce is not a slap in your ex hubbys face move, it only hurt the kids..take the ghetto nails off, get off the couch, make some coffee and shower off your stank HO!!! go to work, it has been 3 years of trying to claim "I cannot find a job", well why the Fuc?!@%$? would you if you make 4300 off our hard work in California, lus 1000 in alimony that is not considered income! I raised my kid alone, and she is strong and successful because of it, I love her that's why and actions speak louder than words ...lazy women!! We found that we can ask the court to look at the fat ass Hos contributions to her household financially, dad did not make kids alone, never tried shady things like decreasing his hours and has not seen his oldest for over 2 years because moms games and need to stick him in the heart....though she filed for divorce. Quit the high school games and be educated!!! I am enlightened to see women who actually do work and parent. we have a prediabetic child, high insulin, glucose, chloresterol and the Cifornia court doesn't care in Contra Costa County.

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      Jess 6 years ago

      Ok my ex pays the minium childsupport, my daughter has a large othadontic bill is it fair to ask her father to help out with extra cost?

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      me 6 years ago

      dats bullshit. she need to get off her ass and get a job too. childsupport make them bitchs lazy

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      Raines 6 years ago

      Child support should cover the basic needs such as food and clothes on their back. In most cases the amount set by the states are designed to cover well above those basic needs and the custodial parent can use the remainder for whatever they want.

      One beef I have is that a custodial parent will say that they need to provide a roof over the child's head. Well, so does the non-custodial parent for when the child comes to visit. Only difference is less food eaten and the non-custodial parent shouldn't need to keep clothes at their house because they already bought the child clothes through CS.

      So in my view, the "roof over the child's head" is kind of a load of bunk. I have to provide tha same roof and a room at my place as well.

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      Stepmother 6 years ago

      Befuddled.....I love you, GREAT comment! We pay child support to my husbands lazy, greedy ex. We have 60(her) 40 custody and don't get compensation for our financial givings to the kids.

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      Truth speaker 6 years ago

      By the way that last sentence was not ment to sound the way it did. What I ment was good dads stop fighting for more time and loose and miss out on raising their child.

    • profile image

      Truth speaker 6 years ago

      Why DOES the mother always get the child and the father has to pay. She was the one sleeping around and tore our family apart, but I only get my little girl every other weekend and a couple hours once during the week! I love my little girl and would do anything for her! But I'm the one that has the better bond with her. Who do these people think they are telling me how often I'm allowed to see MY child! They don't know us we are just another case to them. I've paid thousands on layers to see my daughter more and what happened the answer is no and I get my child support raised by the mother for trying to get my little girl more. How would the courts feel if I took there children away and told them how often and when they could see them. And they wonder why some people do the things they do!

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      Favour Martins 6 years ago


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      Jen 6 years ago

      Is health insurance included with the monthly child support or is this separate?

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      Jessica 6 years ago

      My Chilean father owns his own beesnes, but it's not on his name. What can I do so he can pay chile sport for his three kids??

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      MeMe 6 years ago

      So what is the most money u can get if the father doesn't have a job?

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      jacob smith 6 years ago

      Sad but true. This article is clearly a women who wrote it. I am a proud dad of four children, and even thou I was not able to keep my relationship with their mother I have a great relationship with my children. The child support guidelines are for the parent who receives money to pay for the child's needs and not for the parent. I receive child support from my ex, and ALL OF IT GOES to my children. Actually there is more and more DAD who are fighting back to caring for their children these days and less MOTHERS who are choosing the easy life. Women who sound like this person in this article, do the right think and don't sound like this person. Be a parent and think of yourself as the other HALF. Remember you married as one and now you are two. The children are still one to both of you.

      I say this to all parents men and women, fight for your children ONLY, NOT FOR YOUR SELFISH NEEDS.

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      Angel 6 years ago

      I pay 400 month for cs. He earns 40k a year more than. I do. I cant afford aa one bed apt. He has not produced his income taxes to court. Guess court over looks due to his job. I finallygot money to hire atty. Im going for mod, if I can have it stopped. It would help me and my kids to get to spend more over nights together. I buy lots for them. But money is little! I pay 700 month for our health ins. Do u think I have good ,chance.

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      Sandra 6 years ago

      In my situation we share legal custody and I have primary residential custody.(I have our son 60% of the time.) My ex-husband pays child support and claims I am supposed to pay for everything out of it, including food for sack lunch on days he has custody of our son. I understand a noncustodial parent paying support and expecting not to have to contribute more, but that's not our situation; my ex has residential custody 40% of the time, so isn't he responsible for providing things for our son at those times (incl.a sack lunch)?

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      thomas hargraves 6 years ago

      what if she is married and her husband pays the mortgage and utilities

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      heather 6 years ago

      My husband is required to pay half of day care and he gets it automatically taken out of his check with child support. Their child has not gone to daycare since she was 3 and he has conintued to pay it and we made her go to preschool and full time kindergarten to balance that cost and now that kindergarten is coming to an end and she will not have to pay for school is there a way to get that removed from her child support since she won't be going to daycare ever again?

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      Second Time Around 6 years ago

      My ex husband refuses to take our kids to their extracurricular activities on his weekends. I often have to keep the kids through most of the weekend so they won't miss games and then he makes me take them to his house or near his home to meet. Are there any laws that state that he has to continue their activities during his visitation?

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      Befuddled 6 years ago

      Wow, another article to empower fat lazy women to put their hand out and ask for more money.

      Your article essentially says that the non custodial parent is responsible for EVERYTHING!

      Entertainment? I pay for my child to enjoy fun activities while in my care. Going to the movies, zoo, museum, shows, plays...etc. Does that mean that the custodial parent should pay me half?

      A 5 year old shouldn't be watching that much tv. So...according to you.........I should pay half of my exs entertainment costs.

      I also use my gas and insurance. Should I be paid for half of that as well?

      Its articles like these, that give my childs mother the "right" to get her nails did weekly, buy a laptop, near Coach purse etc, etc.

      Meanwhile, despite making nearly $20k more than her I am stuck living in a studio apartment, living week to week.

      Screw you and your one sided BS.

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      Anon 6 years ago

      Is my husband responsible for covering half on non-essential items? We gladly contribute to half the medical, dental, eye, etc., but the ex is expressing that we are responsible for paying half on a very expensive pair of sports glasses (This will the the child's second pair. She claims he needs a pair for soccer and another pair for baseball). The child is 7. I don't feel like this is necessary, but are we obligated to pay half?

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      carolyn 6 years ago

      We live in Ireland, my son is now 9 years old and we have never seen a penny of support from his father, He goes to stay with him most weekends.Are we entitled to some sort of support? He claims he has a bank account for him but we have never seen any evidence of this and its no good to me lying in the bank. I am really struggling these days and really need him to step up, how can i go about it? Help somebody..

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      shoffman 6 years ago

      child support covers everything. Come on!!! I pay suuport, and my wife recieves support from her ex. support is expected to cover too much. I cover health insurance for my children and my stepson. He pays support for one child and expects that covers co-pays and so-on. I pay support, health insurance, and my ex has never payed a co-pay ever. The court allows this to continue. The law applies to some but not everyone. With all I pay I sure as shootin', can not pay for a lawyer.

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      Mondo 6 years ago

      My sons mom refuses to pay any child support on the grounds that she can't afford to pay for monthly visits with him. She also uses the fact that she does not agree with the judges decision since it is a Texas jurisdiction and she lives in California. She has tried and failed to move the jurisdiction on a few occasions. I do not keep our child from her, I actually moved closer to make it easier for her to see our child. I have filed for child support in California, but she has reduced her workin hours to 20hrs a week as to pay less for child support. I cover all his costs of living, even when she does visit it's always I need this or that, can I have money for this. I love our child but his dead beat mom is making it hard to stay close to her. I could easily move back to Texas, but fear she will no visit with our child due to her lack of financial security. I feel I should go back to court and go for 100 custody and use her lack I financial security as a reason.

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      John 6 years ago

      I have a partner who had a child when we first got together, her father had died in a car accident.

      i have 3 children that live with my ex.

      My new partner and I have two kids together now.

      what I am wandering is my step daghter doesn't have he rfather paying child support because he is deceased however child support doesn't take this into calculatoin as I am the one supporting her and myparnter is a full time mum with the two babies, so is not able to work at this time. Where does that leave my stepdaughter? it seems as though she has just been over looked. I have no problem paying child support for my kids but I do believ child support needs to look at all situatoins. They keep saying your kids deserve a equality of life, but wheres my stepdaughters equality of life?

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      celia 6 years ago

      My husband is still staying with us but we seperated. He only pay the rent,doesn't give money for food, electricity,petrol clothes or any other needs of the kids. Can I file for maintance

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      6 years ago

      What should I do if I pay $900 a month for my kids,but they really live with there grandmother,her mother.and she only gives her $400 a month.I still pay fo my kids clothes and activities.she's never even with my kids???????????

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      sharema 6 years ago

      my child is 11 and a half years old. I moved into a shelter when she was two and a half and was forced to receive welfare to pay for my shelter expenses. Once on they started requesting that my child father pay child support. Here is the thing she lives with me. I take care of her. I received welfare off and on from that time til now. Last year I worked and was still receiving the child support. Before I could claim her on my taxes (like i have done for the past few years) He claimed her on his taxes. When I ask him why he stated He takes care of her because they take the money out of his check every two weeks for child support. I told hoim you do not take care of her I do. and You should have claimed child support on your taxes instead of the physical child.

      Am I right? Can he claim child support on his taxes? Can he claim my child because his checks are docked for the child support payments?

      Im aware that I will have to send doctor letters and school letters, along with my lease to IRS to prove she not only lives with me but I am her custodial parent.

      please help me

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      Melty Duck 6 years ago

      My husband has been trying to settle a child support w/ his ex. He does not have a car or house. We live pay check to pay check. First he paid extra money to his ex for her settlement (extra child support)..Later he figured that she cannot make her car payments to drive his son to the school. Therefore, we took over the car payments. My husband is considering to give the car title to the ex.

      We also pay for his son's insurance.

      Moreover, the ex does not want to pay for kid's visitations (she is responsible from those). Therefore, we pay all those too. The child support payment was suppose to be decreased as soon as the ex starts working. We heard she works but never declared that either.

      The court is in Texas. We live in North Carolina and his son lives in Mississippi. I know it is complicated but we have no money and do our best to take care of his son.

      My question is whether all those extra payments for his son's well being will be considered as child support?

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      yvonne 6 years ago

      Ok my child father is in the military and my son is on his health insurance should his father be entitled to add him to his dental plan as well

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      Sussy 6 years ago

      So if child support is being paid, Dose the resiver of it have to support the child at the others house? Meaning if the child need clothes at her dads does the mother ( who is getting child support) have to buy her clothes for his house as well? or should he be getting her what she needs and wants at his house????

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      anthony 6 years ago

      I have a very simply question that i would like answered... my step daughters dad (donor) is ordered to pay for medical insurance... ( ha that would be the day...) he keeps these low paying jobs to prevent having to get insurance... i love this child but the strain of paying all the hospital/ doctor bills out of my pocket is unnerving... all i ever get from child support is " he doesn't have insurance at a reasonable cost... cost is not an issue... i have 2 children of my own.. i pay out the nose so i know that bills are covered.. put the child on my insurance you say? good thought... my insurance uses the court order to prevent this... and oh i forgot.. she's not my real daughter.... this law system does not work for the honest people. it works for the dead beats ...

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      Remarrying 6 years ago

      My fiancé has been divorced for 2 years. He ended up getting the short end of the stick with the deal... His ex seems to have every right in the world and can do whatever she wants, while he gets stuck with all of the bills and such. Just a quick background... She is unemployed. Refuses to get a job that would be "below" her. He pays the standard Illinois CS of 20% of his net income, plus 20% of any bonus that he worked hard for (and for which she did nothing for). In addition, he has to pay 60% of the other expenses. He is responsible for ALL travel for visitation. She got the house in the divorce, as well as her car. The stipulation was that she was to get both out of his name within 30 days. Because she isn't working, nobody in their right mind would give her a loan, so they both remained in his name until he had to file bankruptcy because she hasn't paid anything on the house, and barely anything for the car. Her mommy & daddy had to bail her out so they wouldn't repo the car... He had initially been paying HER for his portion of the expenses, but later found out that she wasn't paying the bills at all. This woman tries to get as much money out of him as possible. I could go on and on about all that she's done. We spoke to an attorney about credit defamation (his credit is in the toilet because of her not paying for things that she was supposed to take out of his name immediately, but of course, didn't), but the attorney said that we'd be "chasing bad money with good money". In other words, even though we have all of the proof that we need to show that she wronged him, since she's not employed, we'd be spending all of this money on the attorney and get nothing in return.

      Anyway, we are considering getting married. However, we are now afraid that she will petition the court to get 20% of our COMBINED income. I would not put this past her... We would like to modify the decree and the joint parenting agreement, as we would like to move out of state. We have been more than fair, and would continue to pay "our" obligations. He (we) would love to be the custodial parent, but according to attornies in this area, it doesn't matter that she's unemployed and doesn't pay her bills, etc. It doesn't even matter that she's sleeping with several different men (so long as it's not in front of the child). It doesn't matter that they eat at least a meal a day at McDonalds, she does 1/2 of his homework for him, and the remainder of the nights are spent with him playing violent video games or watching tv. It especially doesn't matter that the child WANTS to live with us (he's not old enough to make that decision on his own). The only way that the courts would even look at a change in residential custody is if child protective services has been involved.

      My questions:

      Is a 60/40 split on expenses normal?

      Can she go after my income once we're married?

      Is there anything that he can do to go after her for the debt that he's had to accrue because of her?


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      Medical costs 6 years ago

      Do over the counter household medications qualify for reimbursement as uncovered medical expenses as it states in most standard orders. My ex-wife has requested reimbursement of household meds by sending me text pictures of the medications on the store shelf above the price tag. She states she doesn't get receipts and can't provide proof of her purchases.

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      Fiancee of 2 6 years ago

      the people who are wondering about HOW the child support is being spent, its not really your concern at all.

      none of it.

      Look up Judge Judy's vid on youtube "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS"

      i like it.

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      Jess C 6 years ago

      My husband and I are having many problems with his ex-wife constantly using the children as tools to extort money and property from my husband. They were divorced almost 10years ago and she was awarded the family house (in excess of $3.5mil) and was awarded massive spousal support payments which have now ceased and is now just child support. Since all of this his ex-wife moved into another of my husbands properties under the pretence that she woul look after the children whist at school abroad. Since then my husband has been paying all the childrens and ex's expenses including house staff (as she is a regular at nightclubs and doesn't really take care of the children), domestic bills (all named above in this article) her personal cell phone bills (sometimes in excess of $1000 per month!!!) He pays for her fuel & all car expenses. Pays ALL of the school fees and acedemic equipment and school trips. He also pays for their first class airfare back and forth to the USA 3 times a year more to this he pays for them (the kids and ex) to go vacations in the summer. Ontop of this he buys clothes, electronic equipment and everything you can possibly imagine. And for the last 3 years the youngest child has been predomintly under our care and not the mothers thus she does not incur a dime of expense (not that she does with her other child either). However after all of this she demands that she get the child support (for herself) as well as my husband continuing to support the children as he has been doing so far. What is your advise? Can my husband stop paying child support to the mother?

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      Sazy 6 years ago

      My ex husband makes enough money to pay more than $400 a month child support I sent 275 to get out. Now hes gotten a raise and gets 3000 at xmas for bonuses. He had no bills.

      He think $275 is to cover rent, food, medical, transportation, sports including gear for school, clothing, hygiene, toys etc EVERYTHING is not covered at 275 a month.

      Is there a direct article that I can send him that shows what the money is for?

      Our agreement verbally was 275 for now but he had to help with clothes and other essentials. He never buys him anything I was thinking now that I am not afraid and out of the house I should go back to court but I was trying to keep peace. Even my Alimony is 200 less than what hes suppose to pay and actually he got a raise so it would be more. I have tried to be nice about this but when he complained that his son had no clothes at his house I said to bad I buy his clothes and they arent going to your house only what I send over because you wont buy him any. Guess that's not right?

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      Claire 6 years ago

      i believe some people are looking at this situation the wrong way. just because a person gets child support does not mean that their entire income PLUS child support payments are spent on the child. of course they are going to need things for themselves also. Whilst I know there are alot of parents out there that do neglect their childs needs, there are also many who provide above and beyond what child support payments are supposed to cover. People that think they are paying money that is not going to their childrens needs really need to look at how much money they are providing and how far that money actually stretches when you look at the cost of living/schooling/clothing etc and then look at your child. is he/she clothed, fed, schooled and provided with medical needs?? if you answered yes then chances are the custodian is doing the right thing with the money regardless of her false nails or his new clothes.

      I receive $110 per week for my 2 children. My rent is $385 per week, I pay $210 in Therapy costs for my eldest daughter who has an autism spectrum disorder, $50 a fortnight in fuel, Plus educational needs/food/clothing/other medical costs, etc. I have the girls 13 days a fortnight. if you think this money comes even close to being HALF of the costs that I put out for my children you are mistaken.

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      Concerned 6 years ago

      I think your a little crazy, I have been on the both sides with child support. When was receiving it, i used it for what ever my daughter needed and put most of it in a savings account for her. And now that i am paying it my ex has a Harley and buys the $8 bottles of shampoo instead of the $2 bottles. And i don't feel the ex should go out and change the type of care she drives because now she receives support either. You should live with in your means.

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      Frustrated step mother 6 years ago

      My husband and I constantly have issues with his daughter custodial parent. My husband has a part time job and pays his ex $215 a month (the judge offered to lower it, only by about $22 but my husband agreed to keep it the same). His ex uses the support money how ever she wants. Like getting her nails done, going out, and trips to Chicago every other weekend. When it comes to food and housing she receives government assistance on top of her part time job that she has. The support money which is suppose to help provide for the childs education, clothes, utilities etc. is spent on herself. My husband doesn't want to see his daughter go without so he buys her all the things that she NEEDS like school clothes and supplies. Infact, the mother has a hard time keeping a job because she knows that my husband will do whatever he can to provide for their child. Like pay her electricity bill because she quit her job and it was going to get shut off. I totally understand him not wanting to see his daughter go without, but if he continues to "over" help her she is going to continue her same routine. This is causing a lot of strain on our marriage because it leave me to pick up all of our bills and support the 2 kids that we have together. She continues to use him and he in turn continues to use me. Any advice in this situation PLEASE!


      Frustrated step mother

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      Casey 6 years ago


      I agree with your article. I think that my ex-wife does not. She seems to treat my child support as 'alimony in disguise,' and declares that in addition to, and above and beyond my child support, that I should ALSO be paying for all school supplies and clothes, all medical expenses and insurance, all summer activities and camps, and her cell phone costs (I'm happy to do the phone,to communicate with my daughter, and her cell phone is paid for on my phone plan), but my ex acts as 'gatekeeper,' using the cell phone for her needs with my daughter, and restricting her ability to talk to me on it. She also has always required that I pay all the expenses associated with visitation. Respectfully, I do live in another state, but pay to fly my daughter here monthly (sometimes as often as twice per month).

      For these visits, she sends my daughter with nothing... wearing dirty, worn out clothing, knowing that I will buy more clothes for my daughter during her stay. I have paid for half of my daughters expenses for braces (while my ex pays the other half from the child support I pay her). When our child support was ordered, I was earning twice the income that I earn now. I have not been granted a review of the child support, (as I live in another state, the state I live in collects the child support and pays it to the state my ex lives in. Problem: My state says the other state has jurisdiction on review, the other state says that my state should handle it). At the time of establishing the support order, my ex only declared one of her three sources of income when child support was determined (each of those sources of income has grown since our separation 6 years ago, and she is also remarried to a man who earns a very comfortable income. Meanwhile, my current wife and baby drive an old car, live in modest housing, and are sometimes so tight on money we can barely make the rent (much less cable TV, and the other 'luxuries' you mentioned). I still pay nearly $1000 per month in child support (while my income is currently about $42,000 per year)... and my ex wife insists that in addition to child support, all the other expenses I have mentioned should be paid by me.

      I haven't been able to buy my current wife new clothes in over a year, while my ex cries 'poor mouth,' meanwhile she always has finely professionally pedicured nails, new clothes, fine cars, etc. Then, when my 13 yr old daughter needs so much as a new 'pencil' for school, I am expected to pay for that above and beyond the child support I'm already paying. If I miss one child support payment (in MA, my state), they will take away my drivers license and through me in jail.

      I must admit that I'm sometimes bothered by the pervasive notion that non-custodial parents (especially Dad's), are inconsiderate and uninformed at best, and deadbeats at worst.

      In my situation, I actually feel like my current wife (and brand new baby) are struggling and left 'wanting' because my ex-wife believes that child support covers none of the things you mentioned, but I am still expected to pay for all camps, visits, school supplies, medical expenses, cell phone (which she gets most of the use), extra-curricular school activities, and also get forced to by additional clothes because she sends my daughter on visits with nothing. Meanwhile... she tells my daughter that I'm a deadbeat.

      How about giving those of us who are trying a fair shake. I agree with what you said about the items child support should cover. My ex-wife (and her attorney) would actually disagree, and say that my child support only covers basic essentials, and that every need beyond food and housing should be paid out by me.

      I welcome your thoughts.



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      legalese 6 years ago

      Non-custodial parents frequently withhold child support because they do not agree with the custodial parent allocates the funds. Non-custodial parents with control issues (generally fathers) sometimes suggest that a fund be established to which payments are made for the child to receive upon reaching adulthood. The author of this hub correctly observes that child support is intended for numerous different needs, most of which are present needs. In some states the custodial parent is afforded great discretion in determining how the support funds should be spent. It would be impractical and overly burdensome to expect a single parent to account for and justify every expenditure.

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      Holly 7 years ago

      My husband had 3 children from previous relationships. We have custody of one of the children and one of the other one live with us full time. My husband lost his job a year and a half ago. Was out of work for 6 months then got another one. Before they started taking child support out of his paycheck he received court papers stating that he was going to have to pay a purge. Court is still going on almost a year later. He pays 800 a month in child support for 2 children one of who lives in our home and has been paying that for almost a year and now the courts still want a 600 dollar purge amount. We can't afford that at all we are losing our home can't feed the kids who do live here and never have anything extra. So how can they justify making him pay this purge or go to jail. If he goes to jail he is going to lose his job and not continue to pay his current order. What do we do??

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      momma in ca. 7 years ago

      I pay child support to my exhusband. he has 60% i have 40% of our two boys. He hasn't worked in over 2years and now is seeking cash aid(Welfare), in doing so the county childsupport agency is now involved wanting to take me to court for more $.Would i have a chance of winning if i try and go for full custody of my boys in their best interest with no support to me?

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      MrWiz 7 years ago

      To: me

      Me, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about and I feel your frustration. That is the WORST part about child support; the Non-Custodial Parent is REQUIRED to provide money to support the children, but the Custodial parent is not required in ANY WAY to provide for the children. The NCP is required by law to provide evidence that they are providing what was ordered (and most of the time having the provisions deducted directly from their paychecks) but the CP is NOT required to provide any evidence of the same. It is a very sad state of affairs that the system in place "claims" to be for one purpose, but in reality, as evidenced by the actual laws/rules set in place, is designed for another purpose. The REAL purpose of child support is two fold. One, to extract money from the NCP primarily in cases where the NCP would not ordinarily offer up voluntarily ANY support for their children; i.e. Dead Beat Dads. Thus, ALL cases are treated as if this were the case. The second purpose for child support is related to the first; to ASSUME that moms should take care of kids and dads should not, and to require dads (who are assumed to not want to take care of kids, as per reason #1) to support their kids and to ASSUME that moms WILL. The sad sad reality is that a GREAT MAJORITY of moms DO NOT do what is right by their children and in fact use their child support money for their own needs, and in many cases, abuse it as a primary source of their own income to support themselves. Children go hungry, children go unclothed, etc, etc. Contrary to the rationale set forth by the author of this article, child support money, in most cases, DOES NOT go for or get used for the purposes she claims them to be used for, and in those cases, even though the NCP is paying the support, it is assumed that the NCP should provide for those unmet needs IN ADDITION to the government mandated support they already provide.

      Thank you "me" for bringing up this point: the role of child support to counter the notion of the "dead beat dad" has in fact created the environment of the "dead beat mom". It sounds like your mom assumes that NONE of the responsibility for taking care of you is on her shoulders, and that the child support is supposed to cover 100% of the expenses (or less than that, but that she should not be responsible for anything). Being the Custodial parent is not a God given right NOR a burden; it is a privilege and an honor! Our children are the most important thing in our lives! If the custodial parent wants to treat the PRIVILEGE as a curse, then for God's sake, LET THE NCP TAKE OVER THE JOB!!! (at least those of us who DO want the job) Due to the blind nature of the child support system and it's laws, things such as raised by you, "me", will continue to go on until the end of time. Good luck to you "me", and I hope you see the true nature of your mother's comments.

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      MrWiz 7 years ago

      I appreciate your honest outlook on the situation as a whole, but consider the role of the NCP. Is it really our DUTY to pay for the housing of our ex-spouse? Do they not have their OWN duty to provide for themselves and our children? You make it sound as if it is the sole duty of the NCP to provide for the children. I can tell you right now that it NEVER took 2 times what I pay in child support to pay for raising my children (including additional costs for housing/transportation because of having children) when we were married. Simply; child support is negatively biased against the NCP. Yes, as the NCP we should provide what we can for our children, but in a state such as Illinois we are MANDATED to provide excessively. We have no rights to earn more and make our own decisions as to how much additional "support" we give to our children. We do not have the right to provide or deny provision of "extras" such as more expensive clothing, entertainment, etc. If we were still in a marriage, we would have every right to make decisions as to the distribution of our additional funds. But in Illinois, we cannot make those decisions. We are forced to hand over a percentage of any and ALL income we receive. (Oh, and btw, most lawyers in Illinois write up parenting agreements to include some of the items you consider to be covered under CS as separate expenses to be payed by the NCP; so we get hit twice for the same expenses!) (And don't forget, in addition to our child support, we have to pay for our OWN expenses related to the children, such as shelter, food, etc., while we have our visitation and weekend time. So in reality, according to your math, as an NCP with 2 days visitation each week and every other weekend, we are paying for only 1/2 of the support away from the CP, or 1/4 of the total cost to raise, which would mean it costs 4 times the support payments to raise the children. That's 112% of my income! That does not add up. The true reality is, not that it costs that much, but we NCPs are ordered to pay for 100% of the costs away from our household. Sorry for the long digressions, train of thought.) If we were still married, that additional income may never reach the children directly; it may be used to pay off debt or upgrade a car. But as the money is divided between two households now, those possibilities are out of the question. And in a state like Illinois, as a male NCP, I have little to no rights petition to be the Custodial Parent (as I would wish to be). Left to the letter of the law, I cannot become the CP unless I can prove EXTREME and DIRE circumstances that are endangering my children in very extreme ways; even though my ability to provide for them is EXTREMELY greater and more stable than my ex-spouse.

      You see, if the role of Child Support is TRULY to take into interest the best well-being of the children, then the laws would allow two things. First, they would allow the parents to make good decisions ON THEIR OWN as to the level of quality of life. Just like in a free market, if we are left to make these decisions we will make good ones. CS should be set at a level of acceptance (above poverty, but certainly well below where it ends up in states like Illinois). At that point each parent can make decisions to provide whatever extras they feel are fit to be provided (and btw, yes, I do not have cable or go out to the movies, I just don't feel the expense is worth it and so I raise my children that I get a credit on my CS now? Just kidding ;-) Besides, I really can't afford it with the level of support I am forced to provide.) Second, the courts would look more broadly at the conditions for petitions for custodianship instead of blindly leaning 90% to the side of the mother. There are MANY MANY dads out here who would give their right arm and leg to be able to be custodial to their children, but the law is not concerned with their ability to provide nor the real needs of the children. Blind adherence to an old and primitive bias is not good for any parties involved; especially the children. I have NO problems paying child support in any way shape or form. I do I have a problem with being shut up in a "jail" of mandates that do not allow me to make my own decisions for myself or my children. My 2 cents. (btw, very good article :-)

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      me 7 years ago

      my mom gets child support on me an i dnt expect her to give me the money every month like sh ethinks but wen i ask abt if she got the money for wat ever month it is, she yells at me an says its non of my bissness cuz its not mine. wen i ask her for somethN she tells me she cant get it cuz she dnt have the money, wen i ask abt the child support, she says that its not mine so i shudnt be worried abt wat she does with it. i asked her if she cud not spend the money for the month of november cuz i needed pants an so we can get christmas presants out the way. she kept tellN me that he never paid this month so i cudnt get pants but just the other day she got mad cuz she had to put the last $19 in the gas tank to take me to my uncles for thanksgieN. my mom lives off her bf an she dnt gotta pay no bills at all, she stays home all day an i jus dnt understand where its all goN. she even baught a $400 laptop with the money. this article is talkN abt the ppl who has to pay it, but i wanna know abt wen the parent abuses the child support money for things un-needed.

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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "Carrie, when calculating child support, does the courts take in consideration if the father has other children to support?"

      Candace, this explicitly depends on your state of residency and, if your former spouse lives in a different state, his state of residency. In some states, such as Ohio, the courts do consider the non-custodial parent's other children -- separate from yours -- when calculating child support. If your former spouse is already paying the maximum percentage permitted by law towards his support obligations for his children with you, this could mean your support payments will be reduced. However, this doesn't happen automatically -- once your former spouse hacks out his child support obligations for his other child, he'll then have to file a petition to modify the child support order you have in place for your children for his payments to be reduced. You'll have an opportunity to answer his petition and attend the hearing, so you can voice your dissent at this time. Just keep in mind that if your former spouse can show that by paying both obligations, he'll dip below the poverty level (defined by your state, not by federal guidelines), there really isn't much you can do.

      Some states do not consider other child support obligations, though -- New Jersey, for example, will not reduce an existing child support order simply because the non-custodial parent now has more children to support.

      Of course, I'm answering this question as if your former spouse has other children and is undergoing a divorce or breakup with a new spouse or partner -- if your ex simply procreated with the new woman in his life, and the new woman isn't smart enough to leave him yet, then no, he can't ask the court to reduce his child support obligations to your children just because he's building a new family. His obligations to his children with you will always supersede his obligations to his "new" family, no matter how many more children he has, unless the mother of those children pursues him for child support. Now that doesn't mean he won't try, but if he's threatening to, remind yourself that he's talking out of his you-know-what. If he actually does file asking for a reduction, make sure you file a formal response with the court immediately and go to the hearing to defend yourself. Otherwise, he could win by default because you failed to answer.

      Good luck!

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      candace 7 years ago

      Carrie, when calculating child support, does the courts take in consideration if the father has other children to support?

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      lisa 7 years ago

      my husband has 1 child from his first marriage. two years ago he lost his job but still kept up with support payment via unemployment. after paying support we are left with 952.00 to live off how is this fair I work part time we have no medical coverage and I am unable to pay for my own life sustaining medication. while she has coverage for herself and their son has state coverage?

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      Melinda 7 years ago


      Thank you for the valuable advice.

      I live in TN. My ex lives in another state. I have just in the past few weeks received the order giving TN CEJ of our case and we are finally in touch with the local child support enforcement office.

      My ex has been selfemployed for years so garnishment was difficult. With the economy as it is my ex started a job just this week, so I'm hoping that changes. We were having difficulty enforcing across state lines. With this new order I feel we are headed in the right direction.

      Again, I thank you for sharing your knowledge.


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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "Carrie, I appreciate all the advice. I guess I should have better explained my situation. The order is that my child receive a total of 210 per month. My Ex hasn't paid in 3 years (aside from his intercepted tax return) My child has a dissability and I cannot work... someone has to care for him. I do understand the laws but it does not seem right that my husband (my childs stepfather) is paying everything, including insurance, medication and medical bills. Meanwhile my Ex is doing all he can to keep from paying anything while driving a lexus. I cannot afford an attorney to do something about it because we are budgeted on 1 income. The 1 court date we did have he hired an attorney to get out of having to pay a "purge" payment. Spent money on a lawyer to keep from supporting his child. My childs medical costs run around 10,000 per year. I guess the reason I broke it down is because I don't think under 7 dollars a day even times 2 is enough to feed and clothe any child adequately.

      My Ex does have visitation with our child so I cannot understand his lack of responsibility.

      If you have any further advice it will be greatly appreciated."

      Melinda, if your former spouse is not paying the full amount of his child support obligations on time and in full each month, then you do have recourse. Most states have a statewide Child Support Enforcement Agency (or CSEA). This is sometimes attached to your state's Social Services or Child Protective Services agency. I do not know where you reside, but if you would share your state of residency, I would be happy to provide you with the name of the agency and the contact information to get you started. CSEA's only goal is to track down non-custodial parents who skip out on their child support obligations and force them to pay. In most states, CSEA can garnish wages, intercept tax returns (as I see you've already done), seize assets, and even impose liens against real property to recover overdue support payments. Some states also allow CSEA to suspend your former spouse's driver's license and professional licenses until the total amount of arrears is paid back to you in full. CSEA advocates for custodial parents and minor child for free, so there is no cost to you for using their services.

      In the event you live in a state that does not operate an enforcement agency, or your state CSEA just isn't doing enough, you can also petition the court to enforce the Order for Child Support already in place, and you can do this on your own without, an attorney. Though the process differs from state to state, it is fairly similar for most. Draft and file a Motion to Enforce Child Support; the clerk of your county family court may have the necessary forms available, just contact or visit the courthouse for the documents. Complete these forms with your information, your child's information and your former spouse's information, and attach a copy of the original Order for Child Support (you can contact the clerk of the family court where the order was filed, if you no longer have a copy). Make a copy of your completed motion before filing, and keep this for your personal records. Then, file the original motion, along with a copy of the original child support order, with the clerk of the family court. You will need to pay a nominal filing fee -- typically, between $20 and $50 -- at the time of filing. If you can show you are unable to afford the filing fee, you can also ask the court clerk for information on how to obtain a fee waiver, which absolves you of the costs of filing and allows you to file for free.

      Both you and your former spouse will need to attend a hearing in front of the judge, where you will both have an opportunity to speak. You should bring along your copy of the motion and original support order; proof of the payments your former spouse has made, including the intercepted tax returns; and any other proof you have that demonstrates your former spouse hasn't paid you, such as your bank account statements for the last three years. Bring along two extra copies of all of your evidence -- one to provide the judge, one to provide your former spouse. You can redact your sensitive information, like your bank account number and your Social Security number, if you would like to protect your privacy, but be sure to provide the judge unredacted copies of these documents.

      If the judge determines your former spouse is indeed ignoring his support obligations, he can do any number of things to enforce the current order, including garnishing your former spouse's wages, suspending his driver's license, and so on. You can continue bringing your former spouse back to court if he continues to ignore the support order even after enforcement, and the judge can put your former spouse in jail for contempt until he catches up on his obligations. It does take some effort on your part, which isn't fair, but you must be persistent to protect you (and, more importantly, your child's) interests.

      Remember, child support is a debt your former spouse will always owe, even after your child reaches the age of majority and your former spouse is no longer required to pay. You can continue pursuing your former spouse for the debt that he owes to you, and you can even sue his estate upon his death if he is still in arrears at that time.

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      Melinda 7 years ago

      Sandy, My child has been diagnosed with a serious mental illnes and autism. We do not homeschool at this time. My child is in a special ed. School, but we are still having daily struggles that keep me home.

      The Father does not stay involved in the treatments or school situation so I am left to deal with all of it.

      It leaves very little opportunity for work as my husband already works 60 hours a week.

      We budget carefully to be able to pay my childs medical expences. We sacrifice a lot of things. But I will be there for my child no matter what his Father does or does not do.

      Like I said previously, if anyone has any advice on getting Dad held accountable for his childs expences it will be greatly appreciated.

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      sandy 7 years ago

      Health expenses are extreme now. 10,000 a year is breaking. Does your child have cancer? It is hard during theses times. I have had to cut out all unnecessary expenses.Homeschooling children is hard and it does prevent work, atleast your child has you through this.

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      Melinda 7 years ago

      Carrie, I appreciate all the advice. I guess I should have better explained my situation. The order is that my child receive a total of 210 per month. My Ex hasn't paid in 3 years (aside from his intercepted tax return) My child has a dissability and I cannot work... someone has to care for him. I do understand the laws but it does not seem right that my husband (my childs stepfather) is paying everything, including insurance, medication and medical bills. Meanwhile my Ex is doing all he can to keep from paying anything while driving a lexus. I cannot afford an attorney to do something about it because we are budgeted on 1 income. The 1 court date we did have he hired an attorney to get out of having to pay a "purge" payment. Spent money on a lawyer to keep from supporting his child. My childs medical costs run around 10,000 per year. I guess the reason I broke it down is because I don't think under 7 dollars a day even times 2 is enough to feed and clothe any child adequately.

      My Ex does have visitation with our child so I cannot understand his lack of responsibility.

      If you have any further advice it will be greatly appreciated.

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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "Can I lower or stop my child support? The father does not have a job. I pay child support and that is the only source of income that they receive. The electric bill is always late he doesn't have a working phone because he doesn't pay that bill. My child has a cell phone however, he refuses to pay that bill. He hasn't paid for new clothing for him in years. I don't see where the money goes to. The father just had a baby with another woman and I feel as if the money I pay is used to support his other child."

      Sam, no, you cannot lower or terminate your obligation to pay child support simply because your child's father is not currently employed. In fact, it is now more important than ever that you continue to pay child support, especially if it truly is the father's only source of income to care for your child!

      How and when the father chooses to pay the bills (or chooses not to) should not be your concern -- it is up to the father and his partner to manage their own financial obligations. You also shouldn't worry about the father's personal life -- he is free to date other women and start a new family with someone else, even if you do not necessarily approve.

      Here are some things to consider: did the father work before you and he split up? Were you previously the primary breadwinner? If so, then you should expect to continue supporting your child now as you did (and would still be) if you and the father were still together. Additionally, you didn't mention whether the father was living with his new partner, or whether she worked -- if they do and she does, then perhaps she is the one supporting the family and covering the household expenses.

      Remember, child support isn't just meant to cover expenses directly related to the child; it's meant to cover things like the mortgage or rent, utility bills and groceries for the household where the child resides. From what you said, it does sound like the father is appropriately using the money he receives for child support. New clothes aren't always necessary -- if your child has sufficient, season-appropriate, well-fitting clothing, then there isn't necessarily a need for brand-new clothing. Child support isn't meant to ensure your child is always in the newest, most fashionable clothing, and if you really want better clothing for your child, you can certainly buy additional clothes for your child on top of your child support payments -- you aren't violating any laws by providing more for your child than the court orders!

      If you truly do suspect that the father is mismanaging his support payments, you can file a motion with the family court judge who initially entered the child support order and ask for a review of the father's spending habits. If the judge determines the father is mismanaging the support payments, he can order you to buy clothing and cover other expenses directly in lieu of making support payments, although the amount you spend must meet the amount you would have otherwise paid for support. Keep in mind that by doing this, the judge may determine that you aren't sufficiently supporting your child, and order you to pay more support to help cover the family expenses.

      Above all else, please remember that it is most important that your child has a safe place to live than for you to bicker about how your ex manages his finances. Please keep your child's happiness and well-being in mind, and do not stop making child support payments -- especially in a time like this, where your child could likely end up homeless and hungry without your support -- unless a judge explicitly orders you to stop! Good luck!

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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "Would you consider an order of under $7 a day bare [minimum]?"

      Melinda, there is no "bare minimum" when considering the amount of child support payments -- there is only a "bare minimum" when determining how those funds should be used.

      $7 a day does sound pretty meager when you state it that way, but when you calculate your payments for the month, you'll see you receive about $215 a month. Believe it or not, this is a pretty typical monthly payment for a working-class parent supporting one child. Compared to the national average monthly support payment for one child -- approximately $228 per month -- you're receiving only $13 less a month, which puts you right on par. In contrast, the average monthly payment for one child living in Montana is just $108 per month!

      Remember, child support payments are calculated based on BOTH your income and the supporting parent's income. The supporting parent can only pay what he can afford while still living at the poverty level; the court can't force him to go homeless and hungry, it wouldn't be fair. Likewise, if you earn enough to comfortably cover your child's expenses, or you have other assets from investments, trust funds or other sources, it's not unreasonable for the courts to look at you as the primary source of income. Consider if you and your child's other parent were married: would you be the primary breadwinner, covering most of the household expenses? If so, then you should also be covering most of your child's expenses now, as well.

      I know it's hard to understand the law's perspective, especially if you're struggling to make ends meet, but the law is as fair as it can possibly be to all involved parties. What matters most is that your child has a safe, warm place to live, nutritional food to eat and clothes on his or her back. As long as your child's basic needs are being met, then the legal system has done it's job. Good luck!

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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "Does Child Support also help in the cost of a 16 year old car insurance since it's no longer needed for the parent to drive the child around?"

      Teresa, it can be used to help cover the costs of your teenager's car insurance premiums, absolutely. You can use some of the money you receive to pay the insurance bill without doing anything wrong.

      However, don't expect an increase in your child support payments simply because your child is now driving -- the non-custodial parent's support payments do not concurrently increase with the amount of your expenses. If the non-custodial parent has taken a higher-paying job, or recently received a raise at work, then you can petition the court for a modification in the current support schedule. If not, you might consider contacting your child's other parent and asking him or her to go 50/50 with you on your child's insurance premiums -- the worst that could happen is he or she will say no!

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      sam 7 years ago

      Can I lower or stop my child support? The father does not have a job. I pay child support and that is the only source of income that they receive. The electric bill is always late he doesn't have a working phone because he doesn't pay that bill. My child has a cell phone however, he refuses to pay that bill. He hasn't paid for new clothing for him in years. I don't see where the money goes to. The father just had a baby with another woman and I feel as if the money I pay is used to support his other child.

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      Melinda S 7 years ago

      Would you consider an order of under $7 a day bare mimimum?

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      Teresa 7 years ago

      Does Child Support also help in the cost of a 16 year old car insurance since it's no longer needed for the parent to drive the child around?

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      CarrieFerland 7 years ago from Hyannisport, MA

      "If you can justify in court that you are seeking to provide as much as you are able to for your kids then that should be responsible enough."

      Supporting parents already have the opportunity to do exactly that. Most -- if not all -- states now utilize a support schedule to determine how much and how often both parents will contribute to their children's expenses. Parents experiencing 'financial catastrophe' through no fault of their own (by purposely taking a lower-paying job to avoid paying more support, for example) can already petition for a review of their economic status -- in fact, most states not only permit, but require parents to submit for a review of their status every single time there is a change to either parent's economic status, in addition to a mandated yearly review.

      Beyond that, your child's needs should always come first. Consider, had you and your child's other parent were stayed together, you would make sacrifices to ensure the children were cared form first (else, perhaps there is a reason you aren't the custodial parent?); why would it be any different because you no longer live in the same house? When your finances are tight, you cut down some expenses -- downsize your home, your car, and your non-essential expenses -- so you can afford to provide your child with the support they need and deserve. Your child comes first, no matter what, regardless of the financial difficulty in which you may find yourself; they have an absolute right, and you have the absolute responsibility.

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      Ann - Family Law Advisor 7 years ago

      I do think that the law must be more versatile in terms of monetary aid. I have seen lots of families experiencing the financial catastrophe and they simply can't supply what they used to provide their children. If you can justify in court that you are seeking to provide as much as you are able to for your kids then that should be responsible enough.


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