If you have a child and are paying court-ordered child support, you probably make purchases on their behalf as well. Clothing, computers, school supplies, medical bills, and other expenses come up from time to time. If you pay these things directly instead of giving the money to your ex-spouse, you should be careful to make sure that you are getting credit for these purchases, assuming your ex-spouse agrees. You should contact a family lawyer, like a family lawyer in Rockville, MD, if you have questions.

Gifts Do Not Necessarily Count Toward Child Support

Items that you purchase for your children do not automatically count towards child support. If you intend for the cost of these items to count, you must ensure that the custodial parent is willing to agree to this. Ask them to contact the court to ensure that the value of these items are counted. It would be a good idea to keep itemized receipts on these items.

It would likely be a good idea to involve your child support lawyer before you purchase these items to ensure that you will receive proper credit. Otherwise, you may have no way to prove that your intention was to buy them for credit toward your child support payments.

You Can Petition the Court If You Must Provide Basic Things Despite Paying Support

Paying for things your child needs while they are staying with you does not automatically count toward your child support. However, you may need to talk to your child support lawyer if you find that you must provide more than your share of basic items your child needs. If your ex-spouse is not providing these items for your child, you may be able to ask the court to find them in contempt, since child support payments are intended to help provide for these items.

Extra Expenses Do Not Usually Count Toward Child Support

You must make a distinction between necessities for your child and things like summer camp, payments for your child to be in band or on sports teams, and the like. Medical expenses are not necessarily covered either. You and your ex-spouse may both agree that your child should be in these activities or that the medical expenses were necessary, but unless your child support order provides for them, child support does not cover them.

Child support covers necessities and in most cases is only part of the expense that you and your ex-spouse will incur in raising your child. Talk to your child support lawyer before assuming that payments for items will count toward child support.


Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into how gifts play a part in child support payments.