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What items should child support money go for?

If you are a parent who receives monthly child support payments from your child(ren)’s other parent, you may feel confused about what all you can use that money for. Naturally you must apend it for your child(ren)’s benefit, but how do you determine the specifics of that?

FindLaw assures you that you have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to choosing what to spend “your” child support money on. In addition, no one is looking over your shoulder, either literally or figuratively, to make sure you spend it “properly.”

Basic needs

Obviously you must provide for your child(ren)’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. But rather than keeping an itemized record of each expenditure you make for these things, consider using a percentage method instead. For instance, if you and your three children make up your household, they account for roughly 75% of your household expenses. Therefore, you can use child support money to pay for 75% of the following:

  • Mortgage or rent payment
  • Electric, gas, water, and other utility bills
  • Phone and internet services
  • Groceries
  • Car payment
  • Home and car maintenance and/or repair bills

Additional needs and wants

Sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between what your child(ren) need(s) as opposed to what (s)he or they want. Be assured that you can legitimately spend child support money on your child(ren)’s reasonable wants as well as his, her or their needs.

For instance, anything connected with school, including extracurricular activities, represents a legitimate child support expenditure. If one of your children is too young to yet attend school, you can use child support money to cover his or her daycare expenses. Finally, such “fun” things as summer camps or vacations, occasional movies and/or amusement park visits, etc. likewise represent legitimate child support expenditures.

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