Can a child support order cover school expenses?


The start of this month marked back to school time for many children across the nation. From folders to pencils to new backpacks, all of these school supplies can add up. And if you’re a single parent, or a recently divorced one, these expenses might make you question if any of it can be covered by child support payments.

If you live here in North Carolina, as well as a number of other states, child support payments are not just calculated based on the child’s basic needs (ie: clothing and food). Other expenses are also taken into consideration; and if financial needs and situations change from year to year, modifications may need to be sought to adjust these payments.

So what can a child support order cover?

Attending school can be expensive, even if the child is attending public school. Some school expenses can include tuition costs (if the child is attending a private school), uniforms, tutors, textbooks, and yes, even school supplies. A custodial parent may also require help to pay for school athletics as well, which is also something that might factor in calculating child support payments.

There are other expenses though that the courts will also take into consideration as well. If the child requires transportation from the custodial parent to get to school on a regular basis, the courts may factor in gas costs and auto insurance into a support payment.

Healthcare costs, health insurance, and even after-school child care are other things that can factor into a child support obligation as well. Of course, a judge will always take both parents’ incomes and earning potentials into consideration before ordering payments that could put undue strain on either parents’ finances.

Sources: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “North Carolina Child Support Guidelines,” Accessed Sept. 12, 2014