Allowed uses for child support money

Child support guidelines in Utah help a court decide how much one parent should pay, and factors like a child's financial needs and both parents' income also help determine a monthly support amount. Child support payments are intended to help cover expenses for a variety of things related to a child or children. Money received for a child can be used for a child's basic needs like shelter, food and clothing. As such, rent, utility, phone and other costs associated with shelter fall into this category. If the parent paying child support has better health benefits, he or she may be required to provide health insurance for a child. Costs that are not covered by insurance can be paid for with support money.

When one or both parents cannot take care of a child, child support can be used for babysitters, day care services or nannies. If a parent who does not have custody is watching the child, child support can pay for travel expenses when a child must travel to this parent. This can include costs for car payments, vehicle maintenance, gas, insurance or tickets for another mode of travel like train or plane.

Child support can be used for more than just a child's survival needs as courts usually believe children are allowed to have entertainment or participate in extracurricular activities. This means payments could be used for movie tickets, games, computers, youth athletic activities or summer camp.

While child support payment amounts vary, most noncustodial parents must pay something because both parents are responsible for supporting a child. The child support order finalized in court is supposed to be long-term. However, one can request a modification when a significant change in financial circumstances has occurred.

Source: Findlaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", December 17, 2014

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