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Child support can cover more than the basics

Some parents mistakenly believe that child support payments can only be put toward basic necessities. This is an increasingly common misconception, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child support can in fact be put toward many different costs.

Wondering what else child support payments can cover? Guidelines vary state by state, but child support can typically cover any cost related to raising the child, as long as his or her basic needs are being met. Read on for a list of expenses that are covered by child support.

As long as the child’s basic needs—food, shelter, clothing, medical care—are being met, the parent who is receiving child support may use their payments for other child-rearing costs. These can include nonessential items that could be considered luxuries. Just a few examples include:

1. School-related fees

Even if a child attends public school, there are still many fees related to education. The seemingly small amounts of money for uniforms, books, lunch money and field trips can add up quickly, especially for single parents.

2. Childcare costs

Many parents require full- or part-time childcare. This isn’t limited solely to daycare, either. Childcare expenses can also include nannies, babysitters or preschool.

3. Transportation or travel

Child support can also cover the costs of transportation. If the child is going to visit the non-custodial parent, support payments may cover the cost of travel. The expenses incurred by maintaining a car, such as gasoline, routine maintenance and car payments can also be included.

4. Entertainment

Most children need entertainment at least once in a while. Entertainment does not necessarily mean costly outings to amusement parks or sporting events. It can also mean access to computers, children’s games, art supplies and music.

5. Extracurricular activities

Children can benefit extensively from extracurricular activities. Some parents may wish to use child support to pay for sports teams, summer camps or musical lessons. These activities are not necessarily essential, but they can go a long way toward enriching a child’s life.

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