When parents are married, they may not keep track of just how much of their spending goes toward the support of their children. However, during the divorce, the courts calculate an amount that each parent should pay.

According to Michigan Legal Help, each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each are factors in calculating the total, as these will determine how much of the paying parent’s income will be spent directly on the child and how much will be spent supporting the child at the other parent’s home. How many children are being supported, the costs of health care and child care and other factors may also be relevant to the court.

FindLaw notes that a child’s needs go beyond food, clothing, health care and child care. The parents must also purchase vehicles to transport the child, as well as paying for fuel, maintenance, insurance and other vehicle expenses. They must also be able to provide safe homes for the child. School supplies and extracurricular activities are also common expenses.

In addition to these necessities, the court expects parents to provide for a child’s social needs and entertainment. A parent may want to throw a birthday party, take the child to the movies or go to an amusement park with the child support payments, and that would fall within the purview of providing for the child’s needs. A parent may also want to purchase the child a phone or a computer and pay for services for these.

In short, child support may be used for any expense related to raising a happy, healthy child.