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What does my Florida Child Support Cover?

Many people who must pay child support mistakenly believe that their payments should only ever be used to pay for a child’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Though child support laws intend for the support payments to contribute to basic necessities, the Florida family courts have busy schedules and do not generally have the time to monitor how parents are spending their child support payments. Therefore, in reality, child support funds may go toward supporting many more aspects of a child’s life.

It is generally up the custodial parent receiving the child support how to best put the child support payments to use. Some parents may use these funds specifically for the needs of the child, while others may combine child support payments with household earnings in order to pay rent, utilities, or make purchases for the entire family. The following are common parts of a child’s life that child support may cover.

Education

Child support payments may go toward tuition, uniforms, or other costs. Even if the child attends public school, support payments may help cover lunch money, books, school supplies, and more.

Transportation

Children need to be transported to school, activities, visits with the non-custodial parent, and other appointments in a safe and secure manner. Therefore, a parent may use child support to cover fuel, car insurance, car maintenance, and more.

Childcare

If neither parent is able to stay home with the child on a regular basis, it makes sense that child support would contribute toward the costs of daycare centers, babysitters, nannies, or other childcare arrangements.

Medical expenses

Child support is often used to pay for any out-of-pocket medical expenses including deductibles, co-pays, special medications or treatments, or any bills that exceed the limits of insurance coverage.

Entertainment

Parents often use child support to pay for technology and activities that are age-appropriate for the child’s entertainment. These may include iPods, computers, gaming consoles, or trips to the amusement park or a movie theater.

Extracurricular Activities

The costs of sports programs, camps and other activities are generally shared between parents in Florida. The parents must usually come to an agreement on how these extra costs will be handled as part of their parenting plan. If they cannot reach an agreement, a family court may order each parent to pay a certain percentage.

The only time a custodial parent’s use of child support may come into question is if the other parent suspects the child’s basic needs are being neglected or that the receiving parent is engaging in some type of criminal or wrongful activity with the child support funds. If a parent suspects that any such situation is occurring, he or she may request that a court or child support agency review how the child support was being used and monitor future use of the funds. Misuse of funds may lead to a modification of a child support order or of child custody arrangements.

If you have any questions regarding child support or any other family law issues, please call the Boca Raton office of experienced family law attorney Alan R. Burton for assistance today.