New Jersey parents may have some misconceptions related to child support in divorce proceedings. All 50 states have set up guidelines in order to determine what the appropriate child support payment should be. A common misunderstanding about what courts take into account about child support is that it is only necessary to cover clothing, food and shelter. The reality is that child support is intended to cover a much broader range of needs, including medical, entertainment and transportation.
Courts will take each parent’s income and the financial needs of the child into consideration when determining the amount of support necessary to maintain a child’s well-being. The parent with physical custody of the child does not have to provide proof of how they are spending the money, as the court assumes that the custodial parent is allocating the appropriate resources necessary to raising the child.
Courts will often require divorced or separated parents to provide medical, dental or vision insurance plans for their children. In many cases the parent who has the best employee-covered benefits will be required to add the child on to the policy. If out-of-pocket costs arise such as hospital stays, braces or eyeglasses the court will often require the costs to be split equally by the parents.
In addition to the basic needs of clothing, food and shelter, child support may also be used to pay rent or mortgage, utilities, telephone bills, medical costs such as co-pays, surgery costs and deductibles, educational expenses such as textbooks, lunch money and tuition fees and extracurricular activities like sports clubs and summer camps. Many courts believe that children are entitled to basic forms of entertainment such as games, Internet and television programs. Trips to theme parks, amusement parks and camping trips are other items the court may take into consideration.
Source: Findlaw, “What Does Child Support Cover?“, December 17, 2014