Getting a divorce can not only shape your emotional and familial life, but it can also affect your financial health, particularly when children are involved. If you are a custodial parent, then you may find yourself responsible for a whole host of expenses that were once shared by you and your spouse. On the other hand, if you are a noncustodial parent, then you might find yourself paying child support for expenses that you have no control over.
To better understand child custody it might help to look at what, exactly, a support order is meant to cover. One of the biggest pieces of child support is basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and housing. This is a relatively broad category that can also include other aspects of necessities, such as utilities for housing. However, basic necessities are not, by any means, the end of a child support obligation.
Noncustodial parent's child support obligation may also include expenses for medical care, whether insurance costs or a portion of uninsured medical expenses. A child support obligation may also include costs associated with education, childcare, transportation, and even entertainment. For older children, extracurricular activities and college expenses may also come into play. It is worth noting that a noncustodial parent is not expected to fully cover these costs, but he or she will be expected to contribute in accordance with the amount of expenses in relation to his or her income.
As you can see, child support can help cover a wide range of expenses. Issues either recovering or paying child support can arise, though. When a child support obligation is too small to meet a child's needs, or too great to allow a noncustodial parent to comply, then a child support modification may be justified. Those who need to address a child support matter may want to discuss the matter with a legal professional, as the strength of one's legal arguments can have a huge impact on the ultimate obligation determination.
Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?" accessed on Jan. 30, 2017