Parents who receive child support don’t have any particular requirements to meet when it comes to spending child support. However, there is the overall guideline that parents should be using child support for the benefit of the child in some way.

Not using child support appropriately isn’t fair to the parent who pays it or to the child it’s meant for. Here’s a little more on what you should know.

What can parents use child support for?

Child support isn’t just money for your child’s specific food and clothing needs. It’s there to help provide your child with a balanced life in the other parent’s home. Typically, child support can be used for anything that betters the child’s life. That means it can go towards groceries, clothing, extracurricular activities and other necessities in your child’s life.

What can you do if you think the other parent is misusing child support?

It’s a good idea to make sure you have proof or evidence before you make allegations against the other parent. For example, if you can show that you pay $1,000 a month for your child’s needs and the other parent didn’t pay $500 in rent for the home, then you might question where the money you’re providing for your child is going.

Similarly, if your child never seems to have new clothing and is wearing items that are worn out despite paying child support to cover clothing expenses, you may question why the other parent isn’t using funds toward clothing. If it’s a matter of not having enough for the necessities despite receiving support, it might be in your best interests and the interests of your child to go back to court to discuss changes in custody.