Any parent can tell you that there are extensive expenses associated with raising a child. The basic expenses like food, shelter, and clothing can add up, before you even start to consider other things, such as extracurricular fees, medical costs, and daycare or after school care expenses. When parents live together, they can pool their resources to help cover the costs for the children and also the rest of the household. After a divorce or separation, however, parents will need to figure out a new way to make sure that the child’s needs are being attended to. To that end, a court will make a child support determination to make sure that the child has what he or she needs. The parent ordered to pay child support can sometimes feel frustration at how he or she believes the other parent is spending the money that is supposed to pay for the expenses of the child. This leads some parents to ask whether they can require their ex-spouse or partner to provide evidence on how the child support is being spent.
The short answer to this question is “no.” A court will not enter an order that requires a parent receiving child support to provide any kind of accounting to the other parent as to how the support is being spent. The reason behind this is it opens the door to an impermissible level of intrusion from one parent to the other. Moreover, it could result in more litigation if the paying parent decides to take issue with how the receiving parent chooses to exactly spend money. As long as the child is clothed, fed, and sheltered, that is what the law and the court consider to be important.
That said, completely misusing child support payments is not always irrelevant. In extreme cases, it could be that the paying parent could use financial instability to bolster modification of the child custody order. For example, if the paying parent can demonstrate that the child is not being adequately fed or clothed during the parenting time with the receiving parent, a court could take that into consideration.
Let us help you understand child support and your case. Call us at (320) 299-4249 for a consultation.