Ask a Divorce Lawyer: What does child support cover?

Question: I am finalizing our separation and will use the formula for alimony and child support. My wife is asking that we further split costs of extracurricular activities. I am unsure what, exactly, child support is intended to cover and what it does not cover. Understanding that will allow a clean break, instead of reconciling receipts every month to see who owes what. 

I am glad to make joint decisions on what can be afforded outside of the intended use of child support, but I must rely on guidelines to ensure I am not considering payment on expenses that should be covered by monthly child support. Can you help with this? What does child support cover?



Answer:  I am not licensed in the State of Virginia so I am only able to answer this question based upon general practice.  Therefore, the specific answer in Virginia may differ. 

Child support is a very state specific aspect of family law.  The laws on determining income, imputing income, what expenses are paid by the child support, and what child expenses are not included in the direct support are going to be determined by the statutes and case law of your state.  In the jurisdictions I practice extracurricular activities, uninsured medical expenses and educational expenses are NOT included in the basic child support amount unless specifically included in a settlement agreement.  


Spencer E. Williams is the Team Leader over St Louis, St Charles, Indianapolis and Arnold (Jefferson County, MO) offices of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. where he practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Williams has tried numerous cases dealing with complex custody issues, maintenance, business assets and personal asset division. 

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2 comments on “Ask a Divorce Lawyer: What does child support cover?

    My sons father pays child support but he thinks that because he pays child support I need to give my sons father the things my son needs like sun screen, miralax for my sons tummy problems that the doctor told us to give him and my sons father also demands over night bags with tooth paste, clothes and diapers. Is this right or is he basically telling me that I’m responsible for my sons needs when he is at his house?

    my income will change from regular checks as an employee to a monthly check as a partner of the company + 2 times at year shares from the company.
    how this will affect my child support and how can i do this if my ex wife agree with only change the amount of the months checks and not to touch the shares ? is this possible to do whit out me commit a felony ?
    thank you

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