Child support is designed to help cover the expenses involved with raising children, such as food, clothing, medical costs, housing, school costs and costs related to other activities. There are no regulations about what child support payments can and cannot be used for.
Depending on the circumstances, it is unlikely that child support payments will cover all the expenses associated with raising children. When child support is managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS), the department carries out a child support assessment to determine how much should be paid and who should pay child support to whom.
This is based on both parents’ incomes and on their percentage of care, which means how often in a year they look after the child. If a person has more than one child, their child support payments may be different for each child. In special circumstances, the DHS’s child support assessment can be changed. An example of this is if a child has large medical expenses.
The child support recipient can apply for a change to their assessment to adjust how much is paid. Parents also have the option to self-manage child support. This means that instead of a child support assessment from the DHS, the parties decide between themselves who will pay, how much will be paid, how often this will be done and by what method.
Instead of being a cash payment, child support can be paid in non-cash items, such as school fees, school uniforms, specific extra-curricular activities, insurance or medical expenses. Although there are no fixed rules about how child support money is to be used, the purpose of child support is to financially support the children.
Parents receiving child support are to use it for their children and not as personal financial support for themselves.