If you are recently divorced or considering a separation or divorce, you may be concerned with how to manage your emotions, your children's emotions and your finances. While child support is intended to help ease the financial burden on the parent who provides most of the child's necessities, such as housing, food and electricity, there are many areas in which child support cannot be used. It is important to understand the expenses for which child support can and cannot be used so that you can properly budget and plan accordingly for life on your own. Please note that child support does not typically cover the following.
Extracurricular activities and related expenses
Extracurricular activities are great for helping children learn to compete, work with others or advance their skillsets in given areas, and they can also serve as distractions for a child who has parents struggling or considering ending their marriage. They are not, however, generally covered under child support. That means that monthly fees, registration fees, uniform expenditures and related expenses are going to be up to you to handle, unless your separation or divorce is amicable enough that you can make an arrangement with your ex.
Child support is intended to help the parent with primary custody provide for a child's basic needs, and while family vacations can certainly be enjoyable, they do not fall under the category of "necessity." Thus, if you are planning a trip to a theme park, to visit grandparents or to travel anywhere else for leisure, expect and plan to foot the bill yourself.
College tuition is a tremendous expense, and it, too, is typically not covered by child support. More than likely, you, your ex and your attorneys will discuss matters relating to college expenses during your separation or divorce proceedings and hopefully determine how these expenses will be covered. If this does not happen, the decision of whether a noncustodial parent must pay for college tends to vary by state. In Nebraska, New Hampshire and Alaska, for example, state courts will not order the noncustodial parent to pony up money for college.
While the expenses that are typically covered and not covered by child support tend to vary by state, this list provides a general idea of what you can expect to have to pay yourself and without the assistance of your ex-partner. For more about child support or to discuss your specific situation, consider getting in contact with an attorney.