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What can child support be used for?

It's not unusual for there to be stories in the media talking about what custodial parents spend their child support monies on and questions about whether parents should have to prove that the money is going directly toward child-related expenses. While noncustodial parents often think of their child support payments as going for things such as clothes, school supplies or food for the children, there are actually no requirements as to what child support payments must be spent on.

The family courts recognize that custodial parents, particularly those with a traditional visitation schedule provide the majority of the daily care for the children and therefore shoulder the majority of the expense. In many cases, custodial parents include child support monies in the regular household budget, and the money goes toward the monthly expenses of keeping a roof over the children's head and the utilities on.

However, child support payments are also commonly used to pay for child care costs and extracurricular activities. In most cases, the calculated child support amount does not include the extracurricular activities, as these are considered optional by the courts and not part of the noncustodial parent's financial obligation. Child care costs, however, are often factored into the monthly support amount if the custodial parent must put the children in day care or other child care arrangements due to their work schedule.

If you pay child support, it's normal to wonder where the money goes, but it's important to avoid questioning your ex or trying to put stipulations on what the money can be used for. If you have questions about the child support laws in Florida, a family law attorney can help.

Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?," accessed Dec. 24, 2015

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