In its Expenditures on Children by Families report, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that it costs more than $230,000 for the average American family to raise a child from birth to adulthood. Though Colorado families may spend more or less than that figure depending upon the needs of the children, the overall price tag of providing care for a child is overwhelming. When parents’ divorce the costs of raising kids must be covered by the custodial parent’s contributions as well as the noncustodial parent’s child support obligation.
Child support can be applied to many expenses related to raising a child. Primarily child support funds can be directly applied to costs associated with providing children with their most basic needs. Groceries may be paid for with child support and so too can a home’s mortgage or rent if the child is a resident of the dwelling. Child support may be used to pay bills for necessary utilities, buy the child shoes and clothing, and may be applied to other expenses that meet the child’s basic needs.
Outside of a child’s basic, everyday needs child support may be used to provide the child with educational opportunities and medical treatments. It may be applied to the costs of enrolling a child in extracurricular activities, paying his medical bills, or fulfilling the tuition requirements of his school.
Child support may also be used to provide a child with entertainment. Depending upon the agreements that parents make about child support, appropriate entertainment and travel costs may be funded with child support.
Other costs, such as child care, travel, and others may also be paid for with child support funds. However, as every child support agreement or order is different readers are encouraged to consult their child support documents to understand what restrictions they may face when using child support to pay for their children’s costs. Family law attorneys can help those with questions determine how they may permissibly use their children’s child support to pay for their many needs.