Basic child support in California is meant to cover a wide range of expenses that come along with raising a child, from food and clothing to medical care and small living expenses.

There is no set list of things child support can go towards because raising a child is simply not that cut and dry. It is a common misconception that basic child support can only go towards necessities, however it is really meant to cover whatever is needed to look out for the health, safety, happiness and wellbeing of your child. Many expenses that are not necessities can be covered by child support, such as after school activities and lessons.

It may be hard to know just what child support must cover and what you may need to ask for extra financial help for because this will vary from case to case. Generally, extra child support is only awarded for uninsured medical expenses and childcare so the other parent can work. These are the approved mandatory child support “add ons” because they are extremely important and can easily exceed the basic child support amount, leaving the responsibility of these costs for the parents to work out on their own, which can result in an unfair distribution of cost responsibility. Other discretionary add ons include extra educational expenses and travel costs for visitation. Beyond these, it is very difficult to get a modified child support award.

You may be able to include language in the child support order or parenting plan that accounts for extra costs. For example, if your child is a competitive horse back rider, which can include costs for a horse, boarding, lessons and travelling, and you and your spouse have always supported that activity however you alone cannot afford it once you divorce, you may be able to have those costs addressed in the Parenting Plan or support order as a cost responsibility distribution.

This distribution is usually based on income but would generally settle around 50/50 if the cost is not too much and both parents can afford it. Speak to a family law attorney skilled at child support orders to ensure your child’s interests are best looked out for. Seeking a deviation from the standard child support amount for lessons and activities or including extra costs in the child support order can be complex and would be best handled by an attorney.

Are you in Los Angeles County and have questions about what child support should cover? Certified Family Law Specialist Steven Fernandez has experience representing high net-worth individuals with complex child support issues. Steven Fernandez will work hard to make sure your child’s interests are looked out for. Representing individuals in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, Steven Fernandez will listen to your case and, based off your needs, will take action to ensure a favorable outcome for you. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.