CAN CHILD SUPPORT PAY FOR ENTERTAINMENT?
When a parent pays child support, it is often concerning to suspect that the funds paid to the other parent are not used for essential needs of the child, like shelter, food and clothing. It is true that child support should generally ensure that a child’s basic needs get met before going to pay for entertainment or other nonessential needs, and a parent who prioritizes nonessentials may need some guidance on using child support properly. However, courts generally allow a parent to use child support to give a child basic entertainment and even extracurricular activities, if other basic needs are already met.
Part of the basis of the child support system is the idea that a child should not suffer unnecessarily because of the state his or her parents’ relationship. Child support payments are the right of the child, not the receiving parent, and as long as the receiving parent provides for the child’s basic needs first, then it is usually permissible to use support payments to give the child entertainment and extracurricular activities.
This may include things like paying for internet access or computers, or even experiences like going to the movies or going to a theme park. Child support may also legitimately pay for extracurricular activities, such as joining a sports league, going to a summer camp or participating in an after-school program.
It is understandable for the paying parent to have concerns about the way the receiving parent chooses to use child support payments. If you have concerns about the use of your own child support, an experienced family law attorney can help. Professional guidance in this area can help you understand the nuances of the law and how they may apply in your circumstances. As a parent, you have an important responsibility, not only to provide for the child you love, but also to ensure that the child truly receives the care he or she needs.
Source: FindLaw, “What Does Child Support Cover?,” accessed March 28, 2018