Child Support Payments: What Does Child Support Cover

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Are you a parent who has been told by a judge that you need to start making child support payments? Or are you a parent who has been awarded child support payments to help you take care of your kids?

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, there is probably one simple question swirling around in your head right now: “What does child support cover?”

Every year, millions of Americans are paying child support. They pay more than $30 billion collectively to support about 15 million children.

But despite this, many people are still left asking, “What can child support be used for?” They aren’t sure what parents should use their child support payments for once they receive them.

No matter what amount of child support you pay or receive, it’s important for you to know what child support payments cover. Here are a few of the things that child support should go towards.


When you’re wondering, “What does child support cover?”, it should be pretty easy for you to come up with a list of basic items that every child needs. A place to live is the first thing that’ll land on most people’s lists.

A parent might not be able to provide their children with monthly trips to an amusement park or season tickets to their favorite sports team’s games. But if nothing else, they should be able to provide them with basic housing, whether that be an apartment, a condo, or a house.

When a judge first sets a child support amount, they’ll often do it with housing in mind. They’ll take a look at what a parent is paying to house their children and come up with a number that allows them to continue to raise them in their current living situation.


All children deserve to have a roof over their heads. But that’s obviously not the only thing that kids need to grow up happy and healthy.

Kids also need to eat three meals each and every day. Child support payments are designed to help parents provide their kids with these meals.

Parents might not be able to take their kids to the fanciest restaurants in town using their child support money. But they should ensure that their kids get access to the nutrition that their bodies need as they grow up.


If you have kids, then you know how expensive it is to keep them clothed. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, the average parent pays more than $13,000 for clothing from the time a child is born to the time they turn 18. That works out to be about $750 per year.

Kids are constantly growing, which can make it difficult for some parents to keep up and continue to buy clothes for their children. Child support payments take this into account and give parents the money they need to keep on buying their kid’s clothes as they go through various growth spurts over the years.

Child support doesn’t always make it possible for parents to set their kids up with designer clothes that cost a lot of money. But it is typically enough for them to buy their kid’s clothes that fit so that they can wear them to school and other places.

Medical Care

When the parents of a child decide to end their relationship, a judge will usually award one of them child support payments. But they’ll also try to arrange to have the parent who has better health insurance to continue to carry their child on their policy so that their future medical expenses are taken care of.

If, however, neither parent has health insurance or if a child racks up medical bills that aren’t paid for by a health insurance company, child support payments are supposed to cover the medical care costs.

This prevents parents from having to raise kids without access to medical care. It also gives them an opportunity to do things like take their kids to the dentist or have them fitted for eyeglasses if they experience vision problems.


There are some people who are under the impression that education is free. They think that just because kids attend public school, parents don’t have to worry about paying anything for their education.

But this, of course, couldn’t be any further from the truth. In reality, education is not free since parents are usually on the hook for paying for things like school supplies, school lunches, and so much more.

This is where child support payments come in. These payments can be used to help pay for most education-related expenses that pop up.

Check out our family and home section for more helpful articles like this one.

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