Divorce Moment: What Does Child Support Cover?

Did you know that child support can only be used for certain things? In this edition of Divorce Moment, we talk about what child support covers and what it doesn’t.


Hi, this is Heather Keith from Keith Family Law and I just wanted to take another Divorce Moment to talk about what is included in base child support. A lot of my clients will say, “Okay, well if we know what’s involved in base child support, which is food, clothing, and shelter, essentially, and some insurances, what’s outside of child support? What would be considered outside of child support? What doesn’t my child support cover?”

So now we’re talking about – college is something that child support doesn’t cover and that’s can seem pretty obvious, but there are other things that child support also does not cover.

So for example, your basic child support covers $250 per year, per child, for unreimbursed medical expenses, which means your medical expenses for the child after insurance is paid, your copays, your expenses that you have to pay out-of-pocket. Those are not covered by child support and they have to be split, usually as per the income shares, which is line seven of the Child Support Guidelines. So say it’s 57-43. You’re responsible for 43% of the expenses and your other parent is responsible for 57% of these expenses and that’s how those extra expenses get divvied up.

Now, this also includes extracurricular expenses.

So say your son is on an away-travel softball team and you have lots of expenses having to do with that. That is not included in base child support and that is something that needs to be negotiated. Normally, one solution that I see a lot is to go by line seven, which is the income shares again. So this would be again, a 57-43 split, for example.

And anything that is just not covered under base child support would be shared in that way. So that’s a question that I get a lot from my clients. This is Heather Keith from Keith Family Law with another Divorce Moment.

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