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What child support is intended for

Divorced parents in New Jersey might wonder what constitutes acceptable purchases with child support money, and there is currently no system that verifies what child support is used for. Courts assume a parent with physical custody is buying what a child needs, and child support payments can cover more expenses than most people are aware of.

Necessities are comprised of more than food and clothing for a child and extend to expenses related to shelter. Rent or house payments, utility bills and other things that keep a space a safe, suitable home for a child can be bought with child support. A child's primary caregiver is not just in charge of providing for a child's basic needs but also has responsibility for a child's emotional and physical development, and many courts believe children are entitled to basic entertainment. This means a parent can use support money for items and activities that could include educational costs like field trips or art supplies, a child's hobbies and fees associated clubs or teams.

In addition to purchases that can enrich a child's education, there may be several mandatory costs that a school requires for items like textbooks and lunches. Those with children attending private school can use child support for tuition, and public school costs could include tutors, clothes and items for projects.

When parents divorce, a court might order one parent to make child support payments to ensure a child receives the same standard of living as before the divorce. Even when a child's parents never wed, support from one party can assist the other when paying for living expenses. One must petition the court when wanting to change or stop payments, and an attorney may be able to offer assistance when a parent suddenly stops paying child support.

Source: Findlaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", December 17, 2014

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