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The importance of child support

Aug 31, 2022 | Divorce

Child support is money, often paid by a non-custodial parent, given to one parent to financially provide for one or more children. On the surface, child support is easy to understand, but as people dive deeper into the concept they may start to believe it’s more trouble than it’s worth — but, for the care of a child or children, it is well worth the struggle.

Ultimately, getting child support means doing the best a parent can for their children and that can come with many rewards and advantages. Child support can ease many financial obligations that a single parent otherwise may struggle with to provide. Here’s what you should know:

Using your child support

Child support is based on both parents’ income. Florida’s laws state that child support is determined through shared income. Shared income means children will receive support from both of their parents’ pooled income as if they lived together.

Child support is used to care for a child or children – and not for the custodial parent’s use. Deciding how child support is being used can cause conflicts to arise. Generally, child support is intended to cover basic needs and maintain the well-being of a child’s living situation.

Child support may be used for:

  • Food: school lunch costs or allergy-restricted diets
  • Shelter: furnishing, rent, mortgage, repairs and utilities
  • Clothes: diapers, shirts, pants, shoes and seasonal wear
  • Schooling: school expenses, books, supplies, uniforms and other associated costs
  • Medicine: clinical visits, medication, glasses, dental plans and health insurance

Some parents may be tempted to use child support for ball games, hair salons, dining, vacations or other expenses that don’t provide for their child’s needs. Parents may need to consider saving extra child support funds, if any is left over each month, for the future of their child.

A parent’s agreement may help define the responsibilities of child support and unexpected expenses. Without the help of legal guidance, talking about child support with your ex-spouse can be a tough conversation – it may even be confusing and complicated until you reach an agreement.