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What Does Child Support Cover in California?

Raising a child is expensive. According to the Wall Street Journal, an American parent can expect to pay an average $300,000 to raise a child from infancy to high school graduation. The cost is higher in San Francisco. California child support is designed to divide the cost of raising a child between the child’s parents. While child support agreements vary, child support may be used to cover the following expenses:

  • Food: Child support may be used to cover groceries and school lunches.
  • Clothing: Child support may be used to purchase clothing, including school uniforms.
  • Shelter: Child support may be used for payment of the mortgage or rent for the child’s home, as well as utility bills for the child’s primary residence.
  • Medical care: In most cases, parents are required to have some form of health insurance for the child. In some cases, child support can be used to cover medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. However, in most cases, unmet health expenses are split equally between the parents.
  • Education: Child support may be used to cover tuition and other expenses associated with schooling, including books, tutors, application fees, and school uniforms.
  • Childcare: Child support may be used to cover the cost of childcare expenses, including daycare, nannies, babysitters, summer camps, and after-school programs.
  • Transportation: Child support may be used for basic transportation costs, including gas, car maintenance, and insurance for the car used to transport the child. It may also be used for covering the cost of travel to visit the non-custodial parent.
  • Entertainment: Children are entitled to basic entertainment. Child support may cover age-appropriate toys, movies, plays, and other activities, as well as the cost of cable and internet service.
  • Extracurricular activities: Child support may be used to cover any regular activities that occur outside of school including sports, music lessons, summer camp, etc.
  • College: Child support may be used for college-related expenses. However, there may be a separate agreement that determines how much each parent must contribute to the child’s schooling.

Either parent can file an application for modification of the order if there is a significant change in the circumstances of either parent. Contact an experienced San Francisco child support attorney for more information.

The San Francisco divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan are dedicated to protecting the rights of women and their children throughout the divorce process. Request a free copy of our book, What Every Woman in California Should Know About Divorce. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 415-341-1144.