Divorce, unfortunately, is almost the norm. Child support is a factor in many family budgets. Whether you are paying it or receiving it, it is a vital part of the child’s care. When divorces leave parents bitter or one parent isn’t being responsible, the question of whether the money is being spent for the child is a common one.
Many caring and responsible parents will do whatever it takes to provide for their children. Sometimes that means that the payer of child support still has to buy clothes, school supplies, braces and extracurricular activity expenses on top of the money that they pay in support. That leaves many parents with the question: Can credit be given for purchases made by the person paying support? The answer is not an easy one, and several factors determine it.
Although child support is intended to assist the custodial parent with necessities for the child, many other costs may be included based on the laws of each state, including:
- Basic needs
- Educational expenses
- Extracurricular activities
- Medical care
- Transportation and travel costs
Childcare expenses may be considered a basic necessity if both parents work. In other cases, medical costs may also be regarded as a fundamental expense for the child’s health and wellbeing. Some states may also include automobile costs like gas, maintenance, and registration to provide transportation for the child.
Parents can agree on what is included as support in their custody and support agreements. Typically, support ends at 18 in most states unless there are special circumstances. However, some parents may agree that college expenses will be covered as part of support, even if that extends well past the age of 18. Other expenses may be included, like school trips, vacations, computers, cars, and special classes or training.
Change in Circumstances
There may be legitimate reasons why the parent who pays child support may end up also paying for many of the expenses that would otherwise be covered by the custodial parent. For instance, if the custodial parent gets ill or loses a job, they may no longer have the ability to cover their portion of costs like school, clothes, tuition, or extracurricular activities. In that instance, the payer may supplement costs for the child or children to continue their normal activities and care without interruption. If that is the case, the paying parent may be able to get later credit for the extra supplemental support that they provided.