What Does Rhode Island Child Support Cover in RI Family Court Matters?
Rhode Island Family Law Courtroom Decorum to Prevent A Problem with Your RI Family Court Judge!

What does Rhode Island Child Support Cover in RI Family Court Matters?

Rhode Island Child Support is often misunderstood by parents, particularly by the parent who is receiving the child support.


In Rhode Island, unless specifically stated otherwise by the court the child support is the non-placement parent's contribution toward

1) Keeping a roof over the child's or children's head at the placement parent's house as well as the,

2)  Heating,

3)  Electricity,

4)  Food,

5)  Clothing including socks, undergarments, sneakers, shoes, pants, dresses, coats, shirts, bibs, diapers, boots and other clothing necessities,

6)  School supplies, and

7) other basic needs of the child/children.

Often parents in a Rhode Island family court case who receive child support wrongfully think that the child support is compensation in order to be able to visit with the child or that it is monies intended to compensate the placement parent for room and board for the child as if the placement parent were the landlord.

An other misconception is that a parent who has visitation with the child is supposed to provide all the closing and needs mentioned above for the child/children during visitation time.  This is not true and many family court judges do not see this as realistic because to require this would be to have the visitation payment paying for the same basic items twice and would be penalizing the visitation parent.

Essentially, most family court judges in Rhode Island have expressed the more prudent view in their decisions that the placement parent is reasonably required to provide the child with clothing and needs suitable to what will be needed by the child/children during the time the visitation parent has visitation.  Therefore, if a mother has placement of two children and the father has visitation for a weekend during the winter, it is generally anticipated and expected by many family court judges that the mother will send these two children for the weekend with their father with appropriately sized clothing to take the children through the weekend.  The clothes should be clean and appropriate for the season of the year.

Depending upon the father's ability to wash the clothing or have adequate access to washing facilities relatively easily, then the Father should return the clothes "clean" to the placement mother, if possible.

Naturally it is reasonably incumbent upon the father to provide a roof over there head, keep the children reasonably warm or cool depending upon the time of year, provide adequate food appropriate to the children's ages, provide electricity if necessary, and spend quality time with the children.  A prudent parent would also make sure there are reasonable first aid items at hand for the children based upon their age.

Anything extra or special that the father wants to do with the children would be at his own expense and he should not expect any reimbursement for any part of it from the placement parent.

Other than possible childcare expenses necessary for one of the parents to engage in work to support the children that have been ordered by the court, or specific educational expenses deemed necessary and ordered by the family court, this is traditionally what child support is used to pay for.

Clear up the confusion and use common sense.  Visitation is intended for the non-placement parent to be able to maximize his or her quality time with the children.  It is not the intent that the non-placement parent is to pay for everything all over again for clothing that has already been calculated within the initial child support payment to the placement spouse as the physical custodian supposedly acting in the best interests of the minor children who are the true persons entitled to the monies from the child support.

All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."