It is a common misconception that child support is designed to cover the basic necessities of life. Child support is actually intended to be spent on a wide variety of expenses. While it is the hope of every paying parent that their child support payments are going to the direct benefit of their children, the spending habits of one parent may have the other questioning their decisions.
Child support is a payment from one parent to the other designed to help cover the expenses associated with raising a child. They may be used for food, shelter, clothing and even entertainment and educational expenses. If the exact use of child support is not covered in great detail in a parenting plan or divorce agreement, what the receiving parent chooses to do with child support is essentially left to their discretion. While the paying parent cannot demand proof of how exactly the child support is being spent, they may be able to seek help from the family court if they believe child support is being mismanaged.
It is very difficult for a paying parent to prove that their child support is being misused. Since child support payments may be used to cover most expenses associated with raising a child, identifying misuse typically only happens when the basic needs of a child are not being met. The family court awards child support to help cover those basic needs, so if those basic needs are not met, the family court will likely want to know why. Depending on the severity of the misuse, the family court may make a modification to the child support order, or make other arrangements to prevent it from continuing.
Parents concerned that their child support payments are being misused may benefit by speaking to a family law attorney. With their help, this financial abuse may be identified and addressed by the family court.