Are Your Child Support Payments Being Misused?

“Should you have to prove what your child support payments are going toward?” This is a major topic of debate these days, especially as more and more individuals find themselves on the paying end of child support orders. It can be difficult for a hard working individual to learn that his or her money – money that is meant for the child – is actually being spent on the recipient. Yet, even if the payer is aware that his or her payments are being misused, there is not much that can be done about it.

Despite what many people believe about child support, support is awarded to help one parent cover most of the expenses associated with raising a child. Because of its broad purpose, it is hard to identify the misuse of child support funds. In fact, child support misuse is only suspected if the very basic needs of a child are not being met. If the basic needs of a child are not being met, the courts will want to know why, and may agree to look into child support misuse.

What is Child Support Supposed to Pay For?

The following is a list of everything that child support is meant to cover:

  • Basic Necessities: Basic necessitates include food, clothing, and shelter. At a bare minimum, child support must cover food for the child, adequate clothing for the child’s age and the weather conditions, and a warm, clean place to live with all of the proper amenities, such as running water, heat, and air conditioning.
  • Medical Expenses: Child support needs to cover the costs of health insurance and any medical expenses not covered by health care. Uncovered costs could include co-pays, deductibles, surgery costs, dental care, the cost of eyeglasses, braces, and any other special medical care that the child requires.
  • Educational Fees: Even if your child attends public school, the education will not be completely free. Lunch, textbooks, and tutors are all items that should be covered by child support. If your child attends private school, child support needs to cover tuition and the cost of uniforms, as well.
  • Childcare: Whether you and your child’s other parent need the occasional babysitter, have to hire an after school nanny, or utilize the local daycare’s services during the summer, child support is needed to cover any childcare costs accrued by the child.

While many child-support paying parents understand why they have to pay for the above items, it is when we get into the items below that they begin to question what their child support payments are being spent on.

  • Transportation and Travel: A child needs to get to and from several places throughout the day, including school, home, and any extracurricular activities. Furthermore, the other parent needs to be able to get to and from several places throughout the day in order to provide for the child, including work, the grocery store, clothing stores, any doctors or dentists appointments, school meetings, and the like. Because transportation is a necessity for raising a child, child support covers transportation and travel costs such as gas, car payments, registration fees, insurance, and bus fare. If you or the other parent were to move out of city or state, child support could then be used to cover airfare, train fare, or long-distance bus fare.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Child support is meant to cover the costs of any extracurriculars enjoyed by the child. Costs can include sports gear, team fees, travel fees, uniforms, field fees, and the like.
  • Entertainment: Finally, many courts believe that every child is entitled to basic entertainment, such as television, a computer, a phone, games, and the internet, so when the child is of an appropriate age, child support can start being used to cover such items. Furthermore, entertainment also includes trips to amusement parks, the movie theater, camping, and other fun outings.

Consult a Dallas, Texas Child Support Attorney

At the Clark Law Group, we are skilled at negotiating divorce settlements and child custody agreements that both parties can agree on. If you feel that your child support is being used unfairly, or if you think that the judge’s initial ruling concerning the amount was too high, contact our Dallas, Texas child support lawyers, and we can work with you and your child’s other parent to negotiate a new amount that you are both comfortable with. To get started, contact our family law firm at (469) 906-2266 or online to schedule a private consultation with our team today.

(image courtesy of S.V. Klimkin)

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