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What expenses are covered by child support?

If you're getting primary custody of your children following your divorce and are seeking or expected to pay child support, it's essential to know what this support is intended to cover.

Many people have misconceptions about this. Some parents think it's only for necessities like food, clothing, basic medical care and housing. However, the laws of all states, including Colorado, recognize that children's needs are much broader than that. That's why child support is intended to help pay for expenses involving education, day care, extracurricular activities and entertainment.

Entertainment expenses can be a broad category. However, parents paying child support can be expected to help cover the cost of things like computers (which are often a necessity for school work as well), video games, amusement parks, camping trips, movies and other things that are part of most Colorado kids' formative years.

Another false assumption that many parents have is that the parent receiving child support is required to keep track of how much money is spent on what and the paying parent has a right to this information. In fact, the law doesn't require such monitoring as long as there's no evidence or any allegation that a parent is misusing child support for him/herself and denying a child's basic needs.

Parents often end up in court, or at least back in their attorneys' offices, when they disagree on what are sometimes termed "extraordinary" expenses. Conflicts over these expenses often are tied to different parental expectations. This can involve the cost of coaches or teachers if a child has a particular talent that one parent would like to see developed with the help of professionals. Maybe a mom thinks her daughter could become an Olympic skier. Perhaps a dad thinks his son could become a world-famous cellist.

They may also agree on nonessential medical expenses such as orthodontics. If they have a child with a disability or a chronic or serious illness, they may disagree on what types of promising treatments or new equipment they should spend money on.

Whether you are dealing with child support as part of your divorce, you or your co-parent is seeking a modification to the support agreement or the two of you disagree on a particular child-related expense, an experienced Colorado family law attorney can help you make the case for what you're seeking for your child.

Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?," accessed June 07, 2018

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