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What child support can be used for

Parents who are receiving child support in Massachusetts are obligated to use the funds they receive to pay for their child's expenses. Although the court normally does not ask custodial parents to prove how they are using the money, the parent would be required to do so if the child's basic needs were not being met.

At a minimum, child support is typically be used to cover a child's necessities, like food, shelter and clothing. Costs related to paying for a child's shelter could include rent or mortgage payments and utility payments. Medical care is another cost that might also be included in child support obligations. This may include the cost of a medical insurance premium as well as any extraordinary medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.

Child support can also be used to pay for a child's school-related expenses like tuition, school supplies and uniforms. Sports activities, summer camps and other extracurricular activities may also be paid for using child support money. After a child's basic needs are met, custodial parents are entitled to use child support money to pay for basic entertainment for their children. Age-appropriate entertainment for a child could include visits to a movie theater, amusement park or museum.

The amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must pay is calculated using various factors, such as the child's financial needs and their standard of living before their parents divorced. A parent who is going through a divorce in which child support is an issue may want to have representation from an attorney to ensure that the child support order is fair.

Source: Findlaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", December 24, 2014

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