Can I control how someone spends child support?

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Child Support on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

If you are a parent who pays child support, you might want some sort of assurance that the parent receiving these payments is spending that money appropriately or that your money is being spent directly on your child.

But generally speaking, this will not happen. Unless specifically ordered by the courts, a parent who receives child support has no obligation to prove how that money is being used. However, this does not mean that you are without options if you have serious concerns about your financial contributions to your child.

Before we discuss your options, let’s discuss what happens — or should be happening — with your child support payments

The money you pay is to support the well-being of your child. This can include anything from basic living essentials to the resources that help to build a child’s character.

During the month, the parent who receives support is already providing these things and paying for the necessary items. He or she buys clothes, school supplies, food, treats for a well-played soccer game and covers the cost of medical care, extracurricular activities, entertainment and rent.

The money you pay in child support can therefore be seen as reimbursement for things that have already been paid for. The amount you pay will have been calculated based on all these expenses so that your contribution is fair and helpful.

However, you might see the recipient parent doing things like buying a new car, taking trips, gambling or going out all the time. This might make you think your child support money is being spent irresponsibly. But the courts do not see it that way.

Unless there is reason to believe that you child’s needs are not being met, the way your ex spends money — including the money you pay in child support — will not be scrutinized.

If, however, someone is out spending money on themselves while their child goes without food, proper care and support, you can take legal action. You can work with an attorney to file a petition seeking modification or an investigation into your child’s welfare. Discussing these and other options with your lawyer can help you better understand your rights and individual situation.