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How can I spend child support payments?

Knowing how to go about the parenting part of having primary custody of a child can be confusing, with the structure of a custody agreement sometimes adding further layers of difficulty to an already difficult position. For many parents with primary custody, this includes receiving child support payments from the other parent. It is common to not be entirely sure what you should and should not spend child support funds on.

Courts do not require that you show documentation for how you're spending the child support payments you are receiving, although they may step in if there is evidence that a child's basic needs are not being met despite adequate available funds. This leaves it up to the parent to decide how best to use the funds, and for many well-meaning parents, this can be a struggle.

Child support should be used first to ensure that your child's basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and medical expenses are met, but it may be reasonably used to meet other needs, too. Child support may be used to cover child care expenses, as well as educational expenses and the extra costs incurred by extracurricular activities. Child support is intended to allow a child to continue enjoying the standard of living that he or she would have been accustomed to prior to the parent's separating, so it does not only have to be used for necessities as long as it is being used to care for the child.

Child custody is often more complex than it seems at first, and it is normal for both parents to have questions arise as they begin to walk through the process. Each significant life change for the parents or the child may change how your custody arrangement functions. If you have questions about your custody arrangement, the guidance of an experienced child custody lawyer can help you protect the rights of both you and your child while you navigate parenthood.

Source: About.com, "Child Support Income and School-Aged Children," Debrina Washington, accessed Oct. 05, 2016

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