Are Additional Expenses Covered in Child Support?

Gina WellsMarch 24, 2021
Are Additional Expenses Covered in Child Support?

Calculating the amount of child support during a divorce is a crucial process. However, it can also become a major problem when parents do not agree on what expenses should be covered, and how to handle expenses that are not included in a normal support payment. 

It is important that you understand the laws imposed by your particular state, and what these have to say about child support payments. Parents should know how to classify and cover extraordinary expenses after a divorce, or after they settle on child custody

Basic child support is there to cover or help with the normal expenses incurred in childcare: food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and certain educational costs.

One question, however, may remain: are additional expenses covered in child support?

Additional or out-of-pocket expenses

Other than your payment of regular child support, there are certain laws in some states that give the court authority to order the party who does not have custody, to pay additional amounts for expenses that can be categorized as child support. A court may often order parents to pay for additional health needs that are not covered by insurance.

The court can also order parents to pay for extracurricular activity expenses. In the majority of these cases, the supporting parent may have to provide medical insurance themselves or pay extra to the parent who has child custody.

The court also requires the supporting parent to pay a portion of the out-of-pocket expenses that include medical, dental, and visual needs. The extent of these payments depends upon how much is not covered by the insurance.   

Medical expenses sound like they are quite similar to what insurance covers. However, these expenses may include co-pays, prescription costs, and emergency treatment. Medical expenses can also include trips to the orthodontist, ophthalmologist, and mental health counseling. In other words, the way child support is drafted can have long-term financial obligations to the involved parties.  

Again, some courts may also order the parents to provide or contribute to the school expenses or extra-curricular activity expenses. This may include private school tuition or public school costs. A properly written order should define what school expenses are limited to; they can consist of the mandatory items such books, registration, or other supplies. 

However, they can also include optional expenses such as paying for field trips or contributing to the child’s prom venue.

Payment of these expenses is often a dispute among divorcing or already separated parents. Orders mostly require parents to share the costs which are agreed upon, but disputes may still arise between the child’s parents. To settle these disputes altogether, judges have started asking parents to pay for extracurricular activities up to a certain extent per month or year.    


To determine how much each parent should pay for the expenses mentioned above, the court may consider the income of both parties, along with other factors. In other words, the end result may not always be equal or seem fair.

These payments are usually in the long-term. To make sure you get the right treatment or the right payment plan, we recommend consulting a good divorce lawyer so that they can better explain to you your rights and obligations.

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