Child Support: What Is Covered vs. What Is Not Covered

August 20, 2019

As a non-custodial parent paying child support to your former spouse, you are probably wondering which of your child’s expenses your payments cover and which ones they do not.  Additionally, you have no way to account for the way the money is being spent once it is no longer yours, so you want to have the peace of mind knowing it is being put to appropriate use.  This article aims to illustrate which expenses are covered and which ones are not under child support laws in the state of New Jersey.  Keep in mind that these rules apply for parents earning a combined net income of up to $187,200.  If you and your former spouse have a combined net income greater than this amount, that sum will be taken into consideration when determining how much you owe.

         What are the specific expenses that are covered under child support in New Jersey?  The basic expenses are the first to be covered: food, clothing and its maintenance, and shelter.  Children need to have a regular supply of quality foods in order to keep them physically and mentally healthy.  They also need clothing that is clean and appropriate and keeps them comfortable. The only type of clothing child support does not cover is sports footwear, so you are not obligated to contribute to that unless there is a separate provision in the initial agreement.  And of course, they need a roof over their head and a comfortable bed to sleep in at night.  Expenses included under the shelter category are mortgage payments, rental payments and utilities and other expenses that depend on the living arrangement. 

         Certain transportation expenses are covered under child support, and others are not.  The main determinate of whether a transportation expense is covered is whether it relates to a vehicle used primarily by the parent or the child.  Vehicles used by a licensed child are not included under child support.  However, costs associated with owning and leasing a car for the custodial parent, such as maintenance and repairs, are included.  Public transportation is also included, such as monthly train or bus passes to get to work.  Finally, any unreimbursed healthcare expenses for the children of up to $250 each year, such as for co-pays or non-prescription drugs, are awarded to the custodial parent. 

         Expenses that are not covered by child support can be added separately to the agreement at the discretion of each of the parents, as long as each parent understands and consents to the terms.  The court can also add extraordinary expenses to the agreement, such as extracurricular activities, if these expenses are predictable and recurring.  These expenses must be paid along with the basic expenses already covered.  The non-custodial parent is not obligated to fund any expenses that are not on the agreement, so it is important that both parents have a clear understanding of all the terms from the start. 

         If you are having any trouble negotiating with your former spouse or you think that they are violating the terms of the agreement, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Curt J. Geisler to straighten things out.  Child custody agreements can be modified at any time, and the sooner you take action, the sooner you will figure out a solution.  

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