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Responsibility for Children’s Expenses

Phoenix family law attorney

Child support is a set amount the court orders one parent to pay to the other. Usually the parent who spends the most time with the child receives child support from the other parent. The purpose of child support is to provide an adequate standard of living for the child, equivalent with that experienced when the parents were together. In addition to set child support, the paying parent may also be ordered to pay for or contribute to the medical, dental, and educational expenses of the child. When an order includes additional expenses, there is sometimes confusion about what exactly is covered.

The parent with whom the child resides most of the time is usually considered responsible for buying the child clothes and other necessities, such as toiletry items, shoes, coats, bedding, and of course, food. The custodial parent is expected to pack the child’s belongings for time spent with the other parent and have those items then returned with the child. It can be helpful to think of these items as belonging to your child, so it would make sense they would travel with him. While some non-custodial parents buy clothing and toiletries to keep at their own home, this is usually not required or ordered by the court.

If the child support order specifies that the non-custodial parent is to pay for or contribute to school or educational costs, this generally means costs involved with attending school, such as tuition, books, backpacks, uniforms, field trip costs, fees, and supplies. If the order includes sports and recreational activities, then this would also include sports equipment, instruments, costumes, lesson fees, recital costs, registration fees and all costs associated with participating in sports or activities.  The parent responsible can be required to pay the costs directly or reimburse the custodial parent if he or she pays out of pocket for these costs.

Medical expenses that are payable by a parent who is ordered to cover these in addition to child support can include co-pays, co-insurance, prescription costs, dental work, orthodontia, and all uncovered medical costs that the child incurs. The paying parent can be billed directly as the responsible party, or can reimburse the other parent if he or she pays out of pocket.

The attorneys at the Sampair Group are ready to answer your questions about child support. We serve families in the Phoenix, Mesa, and Glendale. Make an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys today.