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How Are Parents Supposed to Spend Child Support?

In Florida, child support payments are intended to support a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Child support is also often used to pay for healthcare, education, and enrichment, but parents have a lot more discretion on how to spend child support than most people realize.

It might surprise some to know that the government doesn’t even track how child support payments are spent. Parents who receive child support aren’t required to provide the court with an accounting of how it was spent, although the court might get involved if there is significant evidence that child support funds are misused.

What Do Child Support Payments in Florida Cover?

Parents who receive child support are free to spend it as they deem appropriate. As long as a child’s basic needs are provided for, there may not be much concern from the court about how child support is spent if not every single dime is spent directly on the child. Although child support calculations will take all of a child’s essential expenses into account, parents aren’t bound to a budget based on this calculation.

The reason for this is that child support is viewed as a reimbursement for expenses the custodial parent would otherwise have to make on their own to support the child. Some of those expenses are directly connected to a child – such as clothing or medical expenses – but others are indirect. Indirect expenses would include things like rent and utility bills; these support the child, but they also support everyone else living in the household.

What If a Parent Is Misusing Child Support Payments?

As previously stated: If there is significant evidence that a parent is misusing child support payments, the court might get involved. That can mean imposing accounting requirements to review and control how parents spend child support.

If it’s apparent that a parent isn’t spending child support on their child’s basic needs, the court may modify the support order to compel the parent to spend it differently. In an extreme scenario, the court may even consider modifying custody – especially when a child’s welfare is at risk due to wasteful support spending.

Can Parents Who Receive Child Support Purchase Luxury Goods?

Yes. It’s common for those paying child support to be suspicious of how their funds are being used. For loving parents, it’s only natural to want to be sure your hard-earned money is spent on your child.

That being said, a parent who receives child support is generally free to spend it as they please. If they decide the roll the funds up with their other income sources, they can spend their disposable assets however they wish as long as they can afford their child’s basic needs.

If a parent who receives child support makes a luxury purchase, it may not necessarily be suspicious. However, if the child is wearing worn-out clothes, complains of hunger, or has a medical or dental need that hasn’t been addressed, there may be genuine concern about how the child support is being spent.

Do You Need Help with Child Support?

At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., our attorneys understand the complicated nature of child support laws and have a wealth of experience in representing both paying and receiving parents. Our experienced legal team can guide you through the process to ensure your rights are protected and that your best interests are represented at all times.

For more information about how we can help, contact us online.