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Child support and additional expenses

North Carolina parents who are going through a divorce that will involve a child support court order might wonder what it is supposed to cover. Child support generally takes care of basic needs, but there might be many common expenses ranging from prom dresses to piano lessons that might not be part of the order.

In such event, parents might want to include plans for handling these expenses in their parenting agreement. They may also want to think beyond what their child might need when they are very young and consider whether they want to also contribute to expenses such as the child's college education, first car and wedding.

Understanding what child support covers is also important in general for the custodial parent's budgeting. Often, while child support may seem like a burden to the parent who is paying, the custodial parent might end up picking up many incidental expenses. These could include traveling to play sports, the cost of musical instruments, camp and other activities.

Budgeting should be an important consideration for parents who are ending their marriages. For example, a custodial parent might be tempted to keep the family home because they do not want to disrupt the children's lives by moving them. However, this can be more expensive than anticipated due to upkeep, utilities, insurance and other expenses. If children have special needs, these are usually taken into account when child support is negotiated. However, parents and their respective attorneys might want to build a flexible framework into the parenting plan for dealing with various other expenses. A child might decide to pursue an interest that was not apparent at the time of the divorce, for example.

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