Child support, in the broadest interpretation, should cover all expenses associated with raising a child. This means that child support payments go to more than just the basic necessities like food and shelter. Instead, child support should go to anything that is needed to rear a child.
However, courts will generally presume that the parent with physical custody over the children who is receiving the support is using the money to pay for the child's expenses. The only time that a parent's decisions are called into question is when the child's basic needs are not being met. Sometimes, such instances also include a corresponding dispute over custody.
The court will use a list of guidelines to determine the appropriate amount needed to raise a child. The court considers a wide range of factors, including income, extracurricular activities, medical expenses, school expenses and more. Typically the court will not limit itself to an enumerated list; rather the court will examine every factor to ensure that the decision is in the best interests of the child.
The child support must go to pay for a child's basic necessities such as clothing, food and shelter. After these needs are met, then the payments must go toward supporting the development of the child. This can include a wide range of activities like school fees, supplies, books, tuition and lunch money.
It also covers medical bills and medicine, extracurricular activities like art, dance, sports and transportation costs associated with these activities. The list for expenses can go on and on, but the essential rule is anything that is needed to raise the child. With increasing frequency, child support payments must often continue through a child's college years to cover tuition, books and other associated expenses.
Child support is meant to pay for a broad topic of expenses. If you are considering divorce, then you may want to consult with a family law attorney. Child support obligations are serious. The court strictly enforces them and broadly interprets the child's needs, so these payments can balloon out of control very easily.