What Child Support Should Be Used For

Decide which expenses to pay with child support income

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Parents often disagree on how child support payments should be utilized. Although a court cannot dictate how a parent spends child support income, parents should consider using child support to pay the following expenses for school-aged children:

Child Care/Babysitter Expenses

Often, child care expenses represent the largest expense of a single parent's income. A portion of child support income can be used for child care expenses including babysitting and after-school expenses.

Daily Necessities

Parents should also use child support income for the child's daily needs. Daily needs include:

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Shelter

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are often a large expense incurred by parents on a regular basis, especially for parents of special needs children. Single parents can use child support to cover expenses such as:

  • Medical co-pays
  • Prescription costs
  • Health insurance deductibles

Sporting Activities

The costs associated with sporting programs for school-aged children can become substantial. Parents should consider using a small percentage of child support income for the following sporting-related expenses:

  • Participation/registration costs
  • Equipment (uniform and other equipment)
  • Costs associated with traveling to distant sporting events


In addition to necessities, children need to be entertained. Single parents of school-age children can use child support income to pay for the child's entertainment needs. Entertainment includes:

  • Movies
  • Theme parks
  • Field trips
  • Allowance