Child Support 101: A Quick Guide to Determining What’s Included

Tackling child support can be daunting. This quick and easy guide can put your mind at ease by knowing what to include when figuring out child support.

Child support award include the child’s share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, unreimbursed health care up to $250 per child per year, and other miscellaneous items.[i]

Housing: All costs including but not limited to property taxes, repairs, rent, parking fees, expenses for vacation homes, utilities, fuels, public services, domestic services, moving and storage, furniture, major appliances, stationary, floor covering, all small appliances and housewares, and all household textiles.

Food: All food and non-alcoholic beverages purchased for home or away from home are included. For example, food purchased from vending machines, restaurants, tips, school meals, and catered affairs are included. However, non-food items such as cigarettes, tissue papers, and alcoholic beverages are not included.

Clothing: All child’s clothing is included except special footwear for sports.

Transportation: All costs involved with owning or leasing an automobile intended for primary use of a child subject to the support order are included. These costs include, but are not limited to, lease payments, gas and motor oil, insurance, maintenance, tolls, parking fees, and license and registration.

Unreimbursed Health Care Up to and Including $250 per Child Per Year: These expenses are considered ordinary and may include non-prescription drugs, co-payments, or health care services. The cost of adding an additional child to health insurance policy is not included.

Entertainment: All costs including, but not limited to, fees, memberships and admissions to sports, recreational, or social events, lessons, movie rentals, televisions, mobile devices, sound equipment, pets, hobbies, and toys.

Miscellaneous Items: All costs involving personal care products and services, books and magazines, school supplies, cash contributions, personal insurances, and finance charges.

The items below are not included in the Appendix IX-F child support awards. If the expenses below are incurred, they should be added to the basic support obligaton.1

Child-Care Expenses: The average cost of child care is not factored into the schedules. The net cost or work-related child care should be added to the basic obligation if incurred.

Health Insurance: The parent’s marginal cost of adding a child to a health insurance premium should be added to the basic obligation if incurred.

Predictable and Recurring Unreimbursed Health Care Expenses In Excess of $250 Per Child Per Year: Health-care expenses exceeding $250 per child per year that are no predictable and recurring should be shared by the parents in proportion to their relative incomes as incurred.

Other Expenses Approved by the Court: These costs include predictable and recurring expenses for children that may not be incurred by average or intact families such as private elementary or secondary education, special needs of gifted or disabled children, and NCP/PAR time transportation expenses.


[i] Appendix IX. Child Support Guidelines

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