When a couple with children divorces, the court determines an appropriate time sharing schedule for the couple and their children. The court may also determine a child support agreement, which is money paid from one parent to the other, typically the parent who has more time with the couple’s children, to help cover the added expenses of caring for the children.
You might have heard stories about parents who receive child support, then spend the money on themselves rather than on the children. This is a violation of the parent’s child support agreement and if you suspect it is happening with your former spouse, speak with your lawyer about modifying your child support agreement or filing a contempt of court charge against your former partner. Below are examples of how child support is intended to be spent. Remember, these are general guidelines. Your children have unique personal needs that may require financial support outside these guidelines. It is also important that you remember that as long as the money you pay benefits your children in some way, it is being used as intended. Only in truly gross violations of a child support order, such as your children being neglected while your former partner spends money on lavish vacations and unnecessary items, are grounds for a contempt of court charge.
Increased Living Expenses
Living with a child can be expensive. As your child’s primary caregiver, your former spouse needs to have a larger home than he or she would otherwise need, potentially a larger vehicle, and with these, has larger energy and property tax bills than he or she would have without a child.
Your former partner also needs to have enough food in the house for your child as well as more non-food essential items like toilet paper and hand soap.
School and Extracurricular Costs
If your child attends private school, he or she needs money for tuition and uniforms in addition to the costs that all children in school incur, such as school supplies and money for lunches.
If your child is involved in an extracurricular activity, this too can cost money that may be paid from your child support contribution.
Most courts agree that children are entitled to some form of entertainment. Although you may not be on the hook to send your children to Disney World each year, some of the money you pay in child support may be spent on toys and other entertainment for them.
Medical and Personal Needs
Your child might also have medical needs that are not covered by his or her healthcare insurance provider. In cases like this, child support money may be used to cover these expenses.
Work with a Winter Park Family Lawyer
If you are a parent currently making child support payments or one who is engaged in the divorce process and may be required to pay child support in the future, speak with an experienced Winter Park family lawyer about how much you may be expected to contribute, how the money may be spent, and how you can modify your child support agreement if you cannot afford to make your payments. Schedule your initial consultation with The Law Offices of Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr., P.L.C. today to start having these discussions.