Child Support - What's covered

Dear Luke:

The answer to your question really depends upon the agreement between the parties. If your Separation Agreement is silent on any additional expenses that are to be shared by the parents, then Child Support payments are intended to cover all reasonable and customary expenses. I would say that the expenses you mentioned are all reasonable and customary, unless the field trip is unusually expensive.

Where a Separation Agreement is silent on this issue, as it sounds like yours is, it is left up to the parties to decide what to do in the event that a one-time “extra” charge comes up for something, like a field trip or extracurricular activity. I advise my clients to do what they think is in the best interest of their child. Bear half of the cost if you are able to do so in order that your child does not miss an event or experience in which the rest of his or her class is participating. Good luck to you in working out this issue.

Robin F. Verhoeven
Attorney at Law
Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

In my current separation agreement, we have a specified amount of child support per child. What does this amount cover? Is it just normal care and feeding (rent, utilities, food, clothing, etc )? Are extra expenses for school (lunch money, field trips, school supplies, etc) typically considered part of child support? None of these items were explicitly listed in the agreement.


Does child support paid to one parent simply cover all expenses?