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What can I use child support payments for?

Every state has specific guidelines and laws that regulate child custody. During a divorce, the courts can determine the amount of child support that a parent may have to pay. Both parents may wonder about the actual use of those funds - are there specific things that child support money is allowed to be used for?

In general, the guidelines are pretty broad and states do not monitor how child support payments are used, unless of course the child's basic needs are not being met.

Child support payments may go toward basic needs, such as shelter, food and clothes. The money may also go toward paying for medical care, which not only includes insurance premiums, but also co-pays, and special expenses such as braces, glasses and casts.

On top of that, support payments can be used to pay for educational fees and costs associated with education such as books, supplies and uniforms. At some point, payments may also be made toward college. Beyond that, these payments may also be used for childcare if it is needed, such as babysitters or nannies.

Of course, the abovementioned things are what most parents would expect to hear. There are, of course, other expenses to consider. Child support can be used toward travel costs and for basic transportation. A parent often has to drive children to and from events, so a parent may use these payments to pay for gas, insurance and car payments.

Finally, the payments can also go toward entertainment and extracurricular activities. These may include everything from trips to movie theaters and amusement parks to paying for Internet connections and computers. Extracurricular activities can include things like clubs, sports activities and summer camp.

Courts take a lot of issues into consideration when determining child support payments. A lawyer can help individuals navigate the process or seek modifications, if needed.

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