What does Child Support normally cover?

Child support is supposed to be the care and upkeep of the child including things like keeping a roof over their head(s), clothing, food, their share of utilities…Did you negotiate any of these other expenses into your support agreement? If not and you are having difficulty meeting your own financial obligations you should probably talk to your ex or your child and find out how to reduce them. For example, if your son is driving why can’t he get a job and contribute to some of the expenses?

Think of CS this way: If it takes $100 to raise one child for one month, then both parents pay a percentage depending on their income and the number of nights the child spends with that parent: 60/40; 30/70; 50/50. That means that while you pay $60 your ex is supposed to kick in the other $40. This is a VERY simplified example.
This is supposed to include ANY expense that is necessary: food, clothing, shelter and medical care.
This amount does not include extra expenses like cell phones and memberships. It is not your sole responsibility to foot the bill unless it’s been incorporated into the child support/custody agreement, but if it has not been then I would suggest discuss splitting the cost with your ex if you can. As far as the car insurance, I agree with mal, your child should be contributing to that since it is a requirement to drive. Just my opinion though.
My husband and his ex have joint physical and legal custody with equal time. The children get paid an allowence at our house by my husband paying for an online game, but they have to keep their rooms clean and get good grades for that to happen. They get paid an allowence at their mother’s by her paying for minutes on their cell phones, and she has the same rules about cleaning their rooms and grades or the phones get taken away.

How about when the child turns 18 and goes to college. Is it normal for one spouse to require the other to now pay for the entire college fees since the child support ended for that child.

It depends what your separation agreement has specified, if anything, about college costs. In NC you are not obligated unless that is part of your agreement.

We have no agreed separation doc right now. I was given one by my wife with how she feels things should go and it was driven due to the fact that she feels that the $$ I am paying ($2000 per month for two kids) should be then paid 100% by me since I have the money. I really do not and I am broke all of the time but she knows that if she does nothing that I will go ahead and find the money. I was just wondering if others have done something similar or is this just a very strange request. Deciding who pays what and for how long is just a painful task and we never seem to agree without someone getting mad or feeling like they are not being fair.

I’ll tell you the same thing I told my husband when his ex did this to him. She assumes that you will pick up her slack because you always have. If you put your foot down on some of the little things and “demand” compromise you may be suprised at how much get resolved.
If you are paying $1000 a month per child basically, then you are paying above what it truly takes to raise a child. Realistically, that figure should pay for the cell phone, new clothes every month, lunch money, car insurance, gas, car payment, co-payments for doctor visits. Anything and everything. Break it down to that being $250 per week per child. That’s more than a lot of parents make at their job. If you have no agreement specifying these things then you need to quit covering the extras and let the money you are already paying cover what is necessary. Hopefully, you will talk with your children and they will understand this. Child support is your portion of what it takes to raise your child per month, you should be commended for going above and beyond that but you need to realize that you’re being taken advantage of and stand your ground. That’s just my opinion though. Good Luck!

Dear TommyBoy:

Greetings. Child Support is supposed to cover all of your expenses for the children unless you agree to additional funds for things. Good luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


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.

My separation agreement includes a Child Support figure from a calculator, but didn’t specify what expenses that’s supposed to cover. In addition to Child Support I’m also paying separately for my kid’s cell phone, allowance, YMCA membership & car insurance. Are any of those usually assumed to be part of the Child Support that gets calculated? I want to be fair but not taken advantage of.
Thanks ~