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Some information about what child support covers

North Carolina parents may not be aware of the increasing misunderstanding about what child support can actually cover. While many are under the impression that it only covers basic necessities like clothing and food, the truth is that it is intended to cover a broader range of the child's needs. Some of these expenses include categories such as medical expenses, school-related fees and even entertainment.

The custodial parent of a child may use funds from child support in a variety of ways without ever having to report to the court how the money is being allocated, with the exception of the child's basic needs not being met. Courts will not monitor how the parent supporting the child is spending the money and will assume that the basic needs of the child are being met.

Every state has set up basic child support guidelines to establish how much the child will need to maintain a good quality of life. Several factors will be taken into consideration, such as how much income the parents make and what the specific financial needs of the child are. Often, courts will require basic medical care to be provided by the parent who has the best employee-covered insurance, including dental, vision and medical. If an extraordinary medical expense comes up both parents may be required to split the costs equally. This applies to circumstances like deductibles, the cost of surgery, co-pays, braces and eyeglasses.

In addition to providing adequate food and shelter, courts may factor in other elements that would improve the quality of life for the child, such as extracurricular school activities, college tuition and expenses, childcare costs, basic entertainment like camping trips and transportation needs like vehicle registration and gas. The custodial parent has the right in most cases to allocate child support funds in any manner that will be in the child's best interest.

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

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