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What can parents pay for with child support funds?

Some noncustodial parents accuse the parent with custody of the kids with misusing child support funds. For their part, custodial parents often claim that the money the noncustodial parent pays in not enough to meet the children’s needs.

These complaints are legitimate in many cases, but other times they are because one of the parents does not understand the purpose and use of child support. It is not supposed to be spent on just anything, but neither is it the case that parents are allowed to spend it on food, clothing, shelter and nothing else.

Laws differ from state to state, but in general, here are some legitimate uses for child support.

First are basic necessities like those we mentioned above. Children need food, shelter and clothing, and should not have to do without just because they do not live with both of their parents. Besides the mortgage or rent, parents can use child support to pay utilities and the phone bill.

Medical care is another allowed expense, though most states require divorced or separated parents to provide health insurance for their children.  Extraordinary medical expenses that exceed the cost of a basic health care insurance plan, such as braces, eyeglasses and co-pays.

Education is vital for every child. Even when the kids go to public school, things like textbooks, lunch money and tutors cost money. Child support can be used for these expenses. So can childcare costs.

Some may believe this is the limit of legitimate expenses, but in many places, travel and entertainment costs can be paid for with child support. For example, the costs of transporting the child to the noncustodial parent’s house, if they live in another area, can be covered, as can visits to the movies, amusement parks and so forth.

Parents unsure which of their expenses can be paid for with child support should speak with their family law attorney.

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