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Child support covers more than just basic needs

Massachusetts parents understand that it costs quite a lot to raise a child. There are the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing, but there are also the so-called extras to consider: school supplies, medical care, extracurricular activities and even entertainment costs. Contrary to popular belief, child support is supposed to help in covering all of these costs and not just the basics. 

Parents who pay child support sometimes insist that their payments go solely to their child’s basic necessities. Not only is this unreasonable, it is also difficult to prove. How can the receiving parent indicate which portion of rent or the mortgage was used for the child’s shelter, or how much of the monthly grocery cost went towards feeding them? Parents who have primary or sole custody are responsible for paying all of their child’s necessary expenses, so their spending habits are not monitored by the courts. 

In addition to providing for the basic necessities of life, child support may also go towards health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket care expenses. Education costs are also addressed by child support and involve much more than just school supplies, as any club fees, lunch money or tutors are also listed under this category. Childcare, transportation costs, sports fees, summer camps and other extracurricular activities can also be paid for with child support. 

Children have the right to financial support from both of their parents regardless of their marital status. If an ex is insisting that the child support he or she pays be used exclusively for certain basic needs and is threatening to withhold support payments or is already doing so, timely action is a must. In most cases, Massachusetts parents can petition the family law court to enforce or modify a child support order as needed. 

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