How Do I Know if Child Support is Being Spent Properly?

Child support payments help ensure that the child’s basic needs are met. This helps provide financial stability for the parent raising the child and helps make sure that the child will have what they need without relying solely on one parental income.

From education expenses to healthcare costs and everyday essentials, it's essential to ensure that the child's financial needs are being met. In this guide, we'll delve into strategies for assessing and verifying the proper utilization of child support payments, providing insights and legal perspectives to help address this important aspect of family law. If you don't think child support payments are being correctly spent call us at (313) 513-1919 to schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney in Dearborn.

What is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

Child support is a key factor in ensuring children have access to basic needs. Designed to help cover expenses related to housing, clothing, and food, child support can provide critical assistance to parents whose financial means may be limited or variable.

Basic Needs

It is important for parents who receive child support payments to budget responsibly and use the funds primarily for their intended purpose—providing necessities such as shelter, well-fitting clothing, and nourishment for the child. Using these child support funds for rent or mortgage payments is a common way of ensuring that the child has a safe place to live.

Transportation expenses are also typically covered under child support payment arrangements; this could include car payments, fueling costs, and other fees associated with getting the child home from school, visits with family members, or various activities that they are involved in.

In addition, appropriate clothing should be available throughout the year so the child can stay warm and dry no matter what season it is. With adequate use of child support payments, parents can make sure that their children don't go without these essential items and ensure that the children maintain a good standard of living.

Health Care

Often when a child has expenses that go beyond the amount required under state child support guidelines, health insurance costs can significantly increase the financial burden. While most child support orders include a stipulation that each parent is responsible for paying an amount toward a child's medical expenses, this amount usually does not cover extraordinary medical situations such as hospital visits or braces.

a young girl at a doctor's visit

The local court or child services agency will do its best to ensure that basic health care coverage is provided. For this reason, they determine who in the family can receive quality insurance most economically before making any decisions regarding which parent should have to provide monthly health insurance for their children.

In conclusion, it’s important to note that although most traditional child support calculations may not cover medical expenses beyond basic health coverage, courts, and child support enforcement agencies are making efforts to ensure that all children have access to necessary health care regardless of what is laid out in their parents' original support agreement. 

Additional Child Support Expenses

When determining a child support amount, beyond regular expenses such as proper food, housing, clothing, and other basic needs are often additional child-related costs that aren’t typically addressed with the traditional child support calculator.

These additional expenses can include fees and costs associated with extracurricular activities, uniforms or instrument rentals, summer camp tuition, and tutoring. Additionally, any extraordinary health costs such as glasses or braces must also be factored into the equation for complete coverage of one’s minor dependents.

What Happens If Child Support Payments Are Misused?

Unfortunately, as with any family law issue, there may come a time when you suspect that your child support money is not being used in the way it was intended. In these circumstances, it is important to investigate and take measures to protect your children's interests.

It can be extremely upsetting to think that custodial parents are spending their child support payments on themselves instead of putting child custody funds towards essential expenses for the children. If you have reason to believe that this could be happening, you should collect evidence wherever possible and compile a comprehensive list of expenses paid by the child's custodian.

Then you can use this information to seek modification in court if or when needed, depending on the state in which you live. This may include providing financial records and other forms of proof such as receipts or statements showing how the money was used - or misused.

It’s also important to remember that modification of an existing child support order only occurs after consideration by the court – but if misleading custody-related expenses are occurring, it may be worth taking action to protect your children's best interests.

Can a Child Support Order Be Changed?

A child support order can be changed. When the paying spouse believes that the receiving parent is not spending child support appropriately and wishes to challenge it, they can request a review or modification of the order in most states. This won’t give the judge or child support agency power to demand an accounting of the funds but will instead result in a thorough examination of both parents' financial situations and their ability to pay for their child’s needs.

a magnifying glass and child support agreement

If either parent has a change in income due to job changes, or if the child’s needs have changed, this could warrant changing the amount of child support ordered accordingly. A successful modification request depends on clear evidence that there has been some kind of change deserving of revisiting and reevaluating the existing child support order arrangement.

When to Get Help Resolving a Child Support Dispute

When it comes to resolving child support disputes, there are plenty of ways to go about finding a resolution. To ensure that the child's needs are met, it is often wise to consider a mediator whose sole purpose is to guide both sides toward an agreement. A family mediator can not change the child support agreements but they can create a safe space for everyone involved in order to have their perspectives heard and understood.

However, if you suspect that your child's basic needs are not being met due to neglect or abuse by the custodial parent then it is time to seek help from an expert. For this kind of situation, you should contact a local child support attorney with experience in these agreements. Our family law lawyers at Clarity Family Law in Dearborn can assess your individual situation properly and provide personalized guidance to take legal action. Call our law office today at (313) 513-1919 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. 

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