Guidelines for Acceptable Use of Child Support Payments


Couples seeking divorce advice in Pasadena frequently have questions regarding the acceptable use of child support payments. While  child support will be legally ordered whenever there are minor children involved in a divorce settlement, many parents do not fully understand the purpose of child support payments.

In a divorce settlement, courts recognize that both parents have a legal responsibility to provide for the financial needs of their children. The purpose of child support payments is to provide the custodial parent with reimbursement for some of the child's living expenses. This includes things such as clothing, educational expenses, food, shelter, and medical costs not covered by insurance. When determining the amount of child support payments, a judge will consider factors such as parental income, the child's standard of living before the divorce, and how much time the child will be spending with each parent. The cost of health insurance and daycare can be considered as well, if one parent will be solely responsible for these expenses.

Studies have repeatedly shown that money is one of the top causes of arguments among married couples. Unfortunately, financial disagreements don't get any easier once a couple divorces. In California, courts do not require parents receiving child support payments to provide the person making the payments with an accounting of how the funds are being used. It is assumed that a parent who is determined fit to have custody will be responsible enough to manage the child support funds in an appropriate manner. For this reason, money received from child support payments does not need to be kept separate from general household funds. It is acceptable for this money to be used to pay for groceries, utilities, or any other regular household expenses that benefit the child.

If you believe that your child support payments are not being used appropriately, you can request a court order to have the payment amount adjusted. However, you will need to provide significant evidence that the child's basic needs are not currently being met. Without concrete evidence that payments are being misused, child support awards will typically only be adjusted after a change in parental income due to job loss, disability, or change in employment.