Does Child Support Cover School Expenses?

Child support payments are meant to cover a child’s basic needs, like housing and food. However, children often have more needs than just the most basic physical ones; many children also want to participate in extracurricular school activities, resulting in expenses. The following takes a look at miscellaneous school expenses, and whether or not child support covers these costs:

Types of Miscellaneous School Expenses

Anything related to school that costs money is considered to be a miscellaneous school expenses. This may include the following items listed below.

  • Tuition
  • Music lessons
  • Sports fees
  • Tutoring
  • College testing
  • College application fees

While the above list is not all-inclusive, it does provide a look into some of the most common miscellaneous school expenses.

Does Child Support Pay For These Expenses?

Paying for these expenses on one’s own can be extremely costly. And if you’re the custodial parent, you may wonder what your child support payment is supposed to be used for.

According to Washington State common law, child support is designed to cover a child’s shelter (mortgage/rent), daycare, clothes, food, and medical expenses. As such, miscellaneous school expenses may be listed as outside of the transfer payment, or the payment that a court orders one spouse to pay to the other for child support.

However, according to RCW 26.19.080, some miscellaneous school expenses (like tuition) “shall be shared by the parents in the same proportion as the basic child support obligation.”

In other words, it is unlikely that a basic child support order will cover miscellaneous school expenses. However, if you think that miscellaneous child expenses will accrue over the course of a child’s life, then ask that your child support order be modified to share the costs. As a matter of course, the parent receiving payment should refund any monies that go unused to the parent who offered the funds.

Learn More About Child Support Schedules in Washington State

Child support—and determining a fair child support amount in divorce—is complicated. And as your child grows, it’s likely that the amount of money for extracurricular activities will vary, meaning that you may require a different child support amount.

There are other factors, too, like how child support changes if you remarry and your new spouse offers financial aid to your child. Your ex may petition the courts to change his or her payments in this situation.

To help you understand child support schedules, your rights and responsibilities in regards to child support, and how to take action, call an attorney. The family law lawyers at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny are ready to meet with you today. Contact us at 425-460-0550 now!

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny