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The scope of expenses that child support can cover

Massachusetts parents may be interested in some information about the scope of child support and what expenses it covers. The rules for child support that courts follow often go beyond a child's basic needs.

States have specific guidelines that help courts determine the amount of money that should be paid for child support by a non-custodial parent. In coming to this decision, courts will usually look at the income of both of the child's parents and the financial needs of the child, among other factors. The courts do not generally monitor how this money is spent, since they rely on the assumption that the custodial parent is providing for the basic living expenses of the child. In cases where the child's needs are not being met, the government may step in.

Child support payments are not limited to providing for the bare essentials of raising a child, like food, shelter and clothing. The monthly payments may be used for such things as education, child care and transportation. Courts often provide for entertainment expenses in the child support payment, as well, since they find that children are entitled to a basic amount of entertainment. There may even be allowances for camps and other extracurricular activities, as well as funding for the child's college education.

Understanding the implications of these child support guidelines may be difficult without the guidance of a family law attorney. The attorney may be able to help explain child support issues to a parent, such as the financial and tax implications, as well as determining what a fair child support order should look like.

Source: Findlaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", December 17, 2014

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