One of the most fractious elements of a Florida divorce is ongoing child support payments. Often, the noncustodial parent feels frustrated, believing he or she is over-paying while the other parent is taking advantage of that support. When you consider what child support is really meant to provide, however, there is little to argue about.

According to FindLaw, each state uses pre-approved guidelines for setting support payment amounts, which includes taking a look at both parents’ income and ability to make payments. The objective is not just to provide a home, food and clothing but many additional needs as well. You may be surprised to learn that child support is meant to help pay for activities such as childcare, college, and even going to the movies.

Many courts require health insurance to be provided for the child, but they are also flexible about which parent provides it, often allowing the one with better benefits to carry it. Additional medical needs can range from doctor visits to dental and vision care and more, which child support can be used to cover. You can also use it to help defray out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays, glasses, braces and more.

There are a variety of needs recognized as a legitimate use of child support, including:

  • Educational needs: Textbooks, tutors, lunch money, school clothes
  • Transportation: Car maintenance, registration, gas, buses, travel
  • Extracurricular activities: Boy Scouts, band camp, soccer team, ballet
  • Entertainment: TV programs, computers, internet service, games, movies
  • Childcare: Daycare service, nannies, babysitters

If a child wishes to pursue a college degree, many courts ensure that noncustodial parents contribute to that goal following high school graduation. The child must attend college full-time, however, to receive this support, which continues past his or her 18th birthday.

This child support article is not to be taken as legal advice. It is meant to be informational only.