All dependent children have a legal right to be financially supported by their parents. When parents live together with their children, they support the children together. Parents who do not live together often have an arrangement in which a child lives most of the time with one parent. That parent is said to have custody of the child. This arrangement can be written in a separation agreement or court order (sometimes called legal custody), or may occur without a written agreement or court order (sometimes called “de facto” custody). Either way, the parent with custody has the main responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child and has most of the ordinary expenses of raising the child. The other parent should help with those expenses by paying money to the parent with custody. This is called child support.
Child support Technically covers food, clothing and shelter-type expenses. If the mother of your child comes to you with list of expenses for your child (party, sports, field trips, etc.) are you obligated to pay?
While your child support payments are generally a set amount, the calculations used to reach that amount are largely guesstimates of the amount of support a child needs to needs to sustain a standard of living near the marital standard of living. So is the support you pay the only share your kids need while they are with your ex? Or are you still responsible for expenses during your time, just as your ex is still responsible for hers’ during her time?
If you are paying outside of child support and find yourself constantly paying for deodorant, toothpaste, underwear, etc. Then there is a good chance the money isn’t going to what it was ordered for. Of course, that may not always be the case, but if you feel it is then you may have reason to investigate and to motion your court for contempt against her for diverting support.
Remember if you are spending outside of child support to track your spending during your parenting time. Keep note of what your kids bring to parenting time and what they end up needing from you during parenting time. Keep receipts of what you buy and request reimbursement for an amount you think is reasonable. When you meet with your attorney, be sure to bring your original divorce decree to show what factors the court took into consideration when setting the original support amount.
Should you or should you not pay any expenses other than child support? Are you going to pay for extracurricular things?