Child support

Child support pays for the support of the child. There have been many posts about this and ‘support of the child’ takes on many definitions. “Support” can mean childcare, clothing, medical, and food. It can also include the housing of the child. USUALLY if a dad/mom pays child support and they’ve agreed to split medical and school expenses, then any other expenses (shopping sprees, birthday party gifts, haircuts etc…) are covered by the parent with primary custody. If you have your kids on equal time, then expenses incurred while they’re with you are usually covered by you and vice-versa.

Now once your kids age out of daycare, IN MY OPINION, there are still support issues. Unless agreed upon either in writing or verbally, the children’s expeses increase. Just because the children aren’t in daycare, doesn’t necessarily mean the support should decrease. Add in extracurricular activities, sports, corresponding equipment, musical instruments, car insurance, increased school lunch expense (and groceries), more expensive clothing, cell phones… Usually the custodial parent is responsible for these extra expenses if not addressed via agreement.

SO…child support can be relative. Each situation is different and each family deals with it differently. I hate tagging a dollar amount to what it takes to ‘raise and support’ a child because there is no definite way to do that. Nobody’s fault in that. Guidelines have to come up with a formula for everyone. That’s why it’s so important to have a GOOD SEPARATION AGREEMENT defining how expenses will be shared.

-(off my soapbox now)[;)]

Normally all of that would fall under child support if your agreement does not specify. School supplies, social activities, clothing, day to day needs are all part of child support.
If your agreement states school related expenses and is vague on what that means then I suggest that you make it clear now. School photos, books, field trips, lunch money…any of those things would normally be covered with child support. School related expenses could cover a wider range like school clothes and any extracurricular activities (band, sports uniforms or shoes, tickets for school dances…)
I agree with comingclean2. May be a good idea to get an amendment to the agreement stating what is covered if your ex is giving you a hard time about it. If you are sharing custody you are going to have to work together from now on. Realize that you two are going to have to deal with this situation all the time and either set the standard now or quit arguing and just pay it.

My husband and his ex share joint custody, equal time, and split just about everything else. He pays 500 per month and their agreement stated that he would reimburse her for 1/2 the money up to $250 per child twice a year in April (for summer clothes) and August (for school clothes). She took this to mean that she would buy them a couple pair of jeans and a couple shirts and give him the receipts and he would give her $500. Then when he wouldn’t give her the money she wouldn’t let the children wear any of the new clothes to our house because the agreement didn’t specify that she had to buy clothes for them for our home. The first time they did this and argued for two months so now they have verbally agreed that we each buy clothing for our own house, though we do end up buying them more. She is constantly telling the children that he doesn’t pay her enough and that she doesn’t have the money to buy them something they need for school.
Good Luck!

Every situation is different because the players are different. With my husband’s 2 older children his ex used to sign them up for school, ski, and church trips and THEN tell my husband he owed her for 1/2. We stopped paying after telling her several times that we wouldn’t pay unless we agreed in advance to these trips. This was early on after their divorce. With the youngest we now have a different custody situation and support amount. Each parent covers expenses like trips and activities during their time. We each have clothing and shoes for the child at both houses so he doesn’t have to lug a bag back and forth. If we have big expenses that would occur over both mom/dad’s custody time we discuss them in advance (e.g. sports team) we agree in advance to splitting those costs.

Please see my reply to your previous post on this issue.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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If I am paying child support, does that not take care of various expenses for when my children are with their mother? Social activities, shopping sprees, etc. I have been separated for one year this October 5th… I pay $530/month for both children. We split medical expenses and school related expenses. My separation agreement does not say I am to share any other expenses with my soon to be ex. What is the child support payment supposed to be paying for?