What Should Child Support Cover?

January 22, 2018

During divorce mediation sessions my clients often ask, "What exactly does child support cover?"


Food, clothing, shelter

Generally, extracurricular activities, uninsured medical expenses, and educational expenses are not included in the basic child support amount unless it is specifically noted in the settlement agreement.


Child support usually covers food, clothing, and shelter.


However, you should think about child support a little differently when asked to cover expenses you think child support should be covering.


Two-way street

Parents tend to think about child support as a one-way street, with one parent paying support for the children and the other parent using that money to raise the kids. But the way Massachusetts calculates child support is more like a two-way street. Each parent pays support into a pool and each parent takes a share.


Although child support payments are usually a set amount, the calculations used to reach that figure are estimates of the amount of money a child will need to maintain a standard of living they enjoyed while you and your spouse were married.


Therefore, the support one party pays is what the children need while they are with the other, usually lower income, parent. Each parent is still responsible for financial support during their respective parenting time.


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