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Understanding what child support actually covers

Connecticut residents may not be aware that there are some common misconceptions concerning what child support covers, beyond the bare necessities of food and clothing. Every state has established guidelines in order to determine the monthly amount necessary to support the needs of the child. In actuality, child support is often meant to cover a larger range of expenses, including things like extracurricular school activities, school-related fees, medical expenses and even basic entertainment.

Courts take a variety of factors into consideration when establishing child support payments, including how much each parent earns at their place of employment and what the specific financial needs of the child are. The goal is to maintain the child's current standard of living if possible. Provided that the child's basic needs are being met, courts will not monitor the custodial parent's spending habits and will not require the parent to prove that payments are going towards specific activities.

In order to ensure that the child receives adequate medical care, courts may require the parent who has better employee benefits, such as dental, medical and vision insurance, to add the child onto their existing plan. If an extraordinary medical-related expense arises both parents may be ordered to split the cost in half. This would include things like eyeglasses, dental braces, surgery expenses, deductibles and co-pays.

The custodial parent may also use child support funds for any other reason that benefits the child, including textbooks, club or organization fees, Internet, mortgage or rental payments, utility bills, lunch money, child care payments and transportation needs. A parent who feels it appropriate to take the child on a camping trip or to an amusement park can fund these events with the child support money as well.

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

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