New Jersey parents might face some conflict when it comes to how child support money is being spent. The non-custodial parent might question how the money is used, while the custodial parent might feel they should have the discretion to use it in ways that they feel benefit the children. While in most cases parents who receive child support do not need to provide an itemized accounting on how they spend the money, there are guidelines about what child support payments can be used for.
Child support money should cover expenses involving the children
This might be easier said than understood. However, while there are three main categories in which child support money can be used—shelter, food and clothing—there are additional types of expenses that can also be covered by child support payments. These include:
- Educational expenses, including tuition, books, materials and uniforms
- Extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs and hobbies
- Child care, which can include day care or nannies
- Entertainment, both in-home with subscription services and cable, or outside, such as movies and other outings
- Transportation-related expenses, such as gas, car maintenance, insurance and payments for the bus, taxi or other transportation arrangements
What if a non-custodial parent is worried about how the money is being used?
As long as the child support money benefits the child, the custodial parent will be allowed to decide how to allocate the money. Even if the non-custodial parent paying child support is upset, the court will usually not get involved if the children are healthy, happy and supported. However, if the court does find the possibility of neglect, the court might order an accounting of how the money is being used.
Parents can discuss how child support money will be spent when they are negotiating their parenting plan. While they might not agree on everything, discussing before it becomes an issue and being willing to compromise might prevent a conflict later.