Despite your divorce, you and your ex-spouse must still work together to raise your shared child, which requires one of you to pay child support. Do you know which expenses qualify for child support?

Our Family Wizard explains how divorced couples may use child support payments. Learn when you or your ex may misuse support funds.

The basics

Standard expenses involved with raising a child often qualify for child support. Examples include transportation, food, shelter and clothing. That means parents may use child support to pay their mortgage, rent or motor vehicle maintenance. With basic child-rearing expenses, child support recipients do not have to report their expenses or get the other parent’s permission before using child support funds.

Shared physical custody

You and your ex may have shared physical custody of your child. If so, you could adjust child support payments to align with your individual financial responsibilities when you have custody of your daughter or son. In this situation, the parent making child support payments cannot deduct basic childcare expenses from her or his standard support payments.

Supplemental support

Different states include different additional expenses with child support payments. Some courts include the price of transporting children between households, dental care and post-secondary education. If your child participates in extracurricular activities, a judge may order you to pay those costs from your own pocket, or it could be OK to use child support payments, instead.

Additional expenses

If California law does not account for every childcare expense you incur, you may use your child support order to decide how to divide costs with your former partner. Sometimes, you may have no choice but to cover the cost with your own money.

Understand the legal way to use child support funds. Learning all you can on the matter helps protect your rights and finances.