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Do I have to account for how I spend child support?

Parents are linked to each other forever through their children. This means that fights you had when you were together can still come up even though you are no longer romantically involved. For instance, money can still be a major source of contention and many people fight over  child support.

Let’s imagine, for example, you receive $400 a month in support and the other parent claims that you are wasting that money on things for yourself. You might feel pressured to somehow justify your spending or hand over receipts to prove how you are handling support, but before you do this, you should know that unless a court has ordered you to do so, you have no obligation to provide any accounting for how child support is spent.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that when someone receives a check for child support, they are only to use that money for clothes, food, and other basic essentials for a child. This makes it seem that would be quite simple to just save the receipts and show whoever is curious how the money from that check was spent.

But in reality, this is not how it works. If you receive child support, you aren’t necessarily waiting for that money to buy the things your child needs. You typically spend your own money first. When the support money comes in, it is more like reimbursement for things you have already purchased, making documentation very difficult.

Further, the needs of your child aren’t exact or easy to define. Bills, rent, transportation, entertainment, and other expenses may not seem like they directly benefit your child, but they are all related to your child’s lifestyle and well-being.

However, while the courts aren’t interested in micromanaging how you spend child support when a child has the things he or she needs, the same cannot be said if there is reason to believe the child is not being properly cared for. If there are signs of neglect or concerns about your child’s well-being, the courts can step in to investigate.

If you are a parent receiving child support and have questions about your obligations in terms of how you spend child support, you can discuss these matters with an attorney. Legal guidance can help you protect yourself, your child, and your role as a parent.

Related Posts: Seeking enforcement action for court-ordered support in Maryland, Basic tips for securing a child support modification, Report recommends modifications to Maryland child support, Child support payments must cover certain necessities, Know when and how to seek a child support modification,
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