One of the primary concerns people have when they pay child support is whether their money is, in fact, going to the support of their child.
However, in most cases, parents won’t get a receipt or other proof of how child support payments are spent. For a few reasons we examine below, the courts generally will not order a parent to prove how her or she is spending child support.
Child-related expenses are not clear-cut
Some expenses are very obviously for the benefit of a child, including groceries, new school clothes and childcare. However, a child also benefits from things like health insurance, Internet access, vacations, gas for the car they need to get to work and a safe place to live.
This means that almost any reasonable expense from a mortgage to a movie ticket can technically be considered a child-related expense.
It represents a fraction of actual expenses
Many parents are surprised to learn that the chunk of money that comes out of their pockets every month is actually only a fraction of what it costs to raise a child. This is because both parents financially contribute to a child’s well-being.
In other words, child support typically won’t cover “food and shelter.” It will instead go toward the costs of these and other needs, which can be very difficult to calculate.
Payments are often reimbursements
Child support payments typically come once a month, but things like utility bills, car payments, shopping for new clothes and trips to an amusement park with friends do not hinge on child support payments.
Therefore, the parent receiving child support will often have already paid for these things and uses the child support as reimbursement.
Talk to an attorney if you have concerns
In most cases, you will need to trust that the other parent is using your financial contributions for the care and support of your child. However, if you are concerned that the other parent is misusing child support because your child’s needs are not being met, then legal action may be necessary. In some cases, the courts may require proof of payment or modify existing arrangements.