What Types of Expenses Does Child Support Cover?


After a Pasadena divorce, parents often find themselves wondering what child support is intended to cover. This is a fair question to ask, but not always an easy one to answer.

The purpose of child support payments is to ensure that both parents are contributing toward the basic costs of raising the child. Child support amounts are based on a formula that takes into account each parent’s income, as well as their custodial timeshare.

Custodial parents are not required to provide non-custodial parents with an accounting of how child support money is being spent. As long as the child’s basic care is not being neglected, the custodial parent is free to spend the money however he or she sees fit.

Judges commonly order child support add-ons to provide contributions to daycare costs, uninsured health care costs, and certain visitation-related travel expenses. Enrichment camps may fall under the category of daycare costs if they allow the custodial parent to work or to attend job training classes.

Contributions towards other types of extracurricular activities such as music lessons or participation in organized athletics may be ordered if the child was involved in the activity at the time of the divorce and the non-custodial parent has the means to continue contributing towards the cost. If this is not the case, the cost of the activity would be expected to come out of the standard monthly child support payment, or the parents would need to privately negotiate a cost-sharing agreement.

The court may require non-custodial parents to contribute to expenses relating to the religious training and education of the children if it was apparent at the time of the divorce that the couple agreed to raise the children in a specific faith. A custodial parent intending to raise the child in a different religious tradition would be expected to pay all associated costs.

California does not require non-custodial parents to pay for college costs. However, if the parents included a clause requiring such a contribution in their divorce decree, it would be upheld as long as the parent still had the means to pay.

How Can We Help?

If you're a parent with questions about a child support related issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena divorce attorneys can advocate for the interests of both you and your child within the state’s family court system.