What Expenses Do Divorced Parents Usually Share?

By Rob Jennings J.D.

Many parents use child support payments to pay for child care, extracurricular activities and college tuition along with basic necessities, such as food and clothing, for their children. However, parents sometimes disagree over whether child support should cover all of a child's expenses or whether parents should split certain costs.

Necessities

Parents pay child support to help protect children from the economic impact a divorce can have on a child’s standard of living. Child support helps the parent with primary custody of a child meet the child's basic needs and enjoy the same standard of living he enjoyed while the parents were married. Included in these necessities are food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs, such as personal hygiene products.

Extras

Child support often does not cover extra expenses, such as soccer, school trips and music lessons. It also usually does not cover larger expenses that parents incur as their children grow older, such as a car and auto insurance. Typically, the noncustodial parent is not automatically liable for a portion of these costs; the custodial parent can't unilaterally decide to take on a huge expense for a child then force the other parent to pay. By the same token, the noncustodial parent can't usually refuse to contribute to such expenses simply because he pays child support.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

College

Some states allow courts to award college support beyond the age of majority, which is usually 18. This type of child support is called post-secondary or post-minority support. College support may be paid in addition to child support, as part of child support or as a separate payment after regular child support ends. The parent can use this money to pay for an education at a college, university, vocational school or other type of post-secondary educational institution. However, many states have no statutes holding parents responsible for paying for their children's college education. Thus, some parents include provisions for the payment of college support in their child support agreement.

Disputes

If parents cannot agree whether an expense is necessary and how to pay for it, a judge may have to intervene. A court may divide the responsibility to pay for extra expenses by looking at each parent’s financial ability, which parent wants the activity, whether the child has participated or regularly participates in the activity, and why the parent supports or opposes the activity. If parents disagree about expenses regularly, they may want to modify their support order and add specific language to address these expenses. They may also want to use a mediator or parenting coordinator who can help them resolve their issues rather than go to court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Does Child Support Typically Pay For?

References

Related articles

Why Does Attorney Get Fees With Child Support Order?

Most attorneys charge for their services, whether those services deal with child support issues or anything else; someone must pay the attorney’s fees when a parent has to hire an attorney to collect child support costs. However, some attorneys, particularly those who take a case pro bono or work for a state agency or legal aid society, don’t charge clients for the work they do.

501(c)(3) Regulations for Animal Rescue in Illinois

Sometimes the Internal Revenue Service and basic human kindness find common ground. The federal government classifies animal rescue operations and shelters as “not for profit” organizations. In Illinois and elsewhere, this increases the likelihood that individuals make donations that allow the organizations to continue saving animals.

Can a Part-Time College Student Over 18 Years Old Receive Child Support?

Although children become adults at age 18, this doesn't necessarily mean that their dependency upon their parents suddenly stops. Typically, child support stops when a child reaches the age of majority, but child support law varies by state. Some states do allow child support to continue past age 18 and graduation from high school. Whether or not you can receive support for your child after she reaches age 18 depends upon where you live.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Is Child Support Technically Supposed to Be Used for in Texas?

Child support is money paid by a noncustodial parent to cover a portion of the child's expenses. Texas child support ...

What Does Sole Custody Mean for the Other Parent?

During the divorce process, courts often establish custody orders. If one parent is awarded sole custody, the other ...

What Is Included in Unreimbursed Medical Expenses for a Divorce?

In the context of divorce, issues of medical expenses often arise with regard to the children. Kids get sick and ...

Child Support Questions & Answers

When parents of minor children divorce, one certainty is that their decree or judgment includes provisions for child ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED