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What should you know about child support?

Children have a lot of questions when they are wrapped up in a divorce, and it may hard for parents to give them answers. But adult parents have just as many questions about the implications of separating, and terms like "child support" may not make enough sense to move forward.

  • What is child support in essence?

Child support is different from alimony in two important ways. First, child support is supposed to be spent entirely on the health, wellbeing and basic needs of the child in question. Second, it is often a fixed amount based on an equation as opposed to alimony, which is usually based on individual situations.

  • What does child support cover?

The basic needs of a child include food, shelter, medical care, clothing and the cost of education among other fundamental requirements. Child support may also cover non-essential costs like entertainment and transportation, as well as the cost of child care if it is required.

  • What is not included in child support?

Any elective purchases that a parent may decide to make -- like that pricey iPad -- for their child does not necessarily mean that the other parent is on the hook for half. Although it is best if parents work out these purchases together through communication, child support only covers specific court-mandated costs for a child.

  • Who can help define child support?

An attorney can work out what is covered by court-ordered child support and how to deal with other parents who need to pay it. Although single parents may feel they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, but there is always help available.

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