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How should parents spend child support money?

When a single mother or father has full custody of his or her children, the financial burden of caring for the children will be noteworthy. For this reason, New York family law courts usually order the noncustodial parent to pay a specific amount of money each month in child support payments.

Clearly, the recipient of child support cannot spend this money on his or her own enjoyment. Child support money must be spent on the kids who are supposed to benefit from it.

Appropriate ways to spend child support

Here is a thorough list to better explain how parents can spend child support money:

Basic needs: Primarily, the receiving parent is supposed to use child support to pay for the child's basic needs -- like clothing, food and shelter. This means that the parent should be spending the money on groceries, beverages, snacks, shoes, jackets and clothes. The money should go toward rent, electricity bills and other utilities.

Medical care: Parents might also use the money to pay for medical insurance depending on the child custody arrangements. In some cases, one parent will have the children listed on one's medical insurance and the other parent will not. When expenses exceed the medical insurance coverage, however, the noncustodial parent may need to pay additional money to help cover these expenses -- depending on how medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance are handled in the child custody orders.

Entertainment: The maxim of "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" applies to child support payments, too. Parents can use child support to pay for entertainment in most cases. This includes daily outings, movies, amusement parks, video games, television and other forms of entertainment.

Additional costs and extracurricular activities: Other items that child support payments should cover include school tuition costs, costs for tutors and school supply costs. If the child has a hobby, the funds might be used to help pay for the various expenses related to the hobby. It's important that parents discuss the way child support payments are used to pay for additional costs to ensure that everything is done in accordance with court child support orders and/or out-of-court agreements.

Make sure you understand how parents can and cannot use child support

When you fully understand the limits on how parents can spend support payments for children, you will be able to avoid potential legal problems later on down the road. You will also be better capable of identifying whether or not the other parent is inappropriately spending the child support you're paying.

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