Can A Parent Request Accounting Of The Child Support Expenses?
This is a frequent question that I hear as a Dayton, Ohio, divorce lawyer. In Ohio, the short answer is “no” as long as the child’s basic needs are being taken care of. There are a few states (such as Washington) which allow for a parent to request an accounting of the child support expenditures.
In most states there is a common misconception that child support must be spent on things that ONLY benefit the child only. In Ohio, child support may be used to pay for a very broad range of expenses including:
- Mortgage/rent of the home where the child lives
- Utility bills, internet, cell phones
- Medical expenses
- Transportation and vehicle costs (including gas, auto insurance and car repairs)
- Childcare/babysitters/camp costs/sports/extracurricular activities
- School fees and supplies
- Entertainment for the child
- Any miscellaneous expenses that contribute to the general welfare of the child.
Does the Custodial Parent need to Account for the Support Money?
This is a corollary question to the one above. The general answer in Ohio is “no”. Nonetheless, if this issue is raised, it would be prudent to look back over the past month or so and list the expenses that the child support is helping to pay. You will likely find that the child support payments cover a lower percentage of the overall living expenses than either parent suspected. Please understand that it is expected that the child support payments can properly be utilized to help enrich the quality of the child’s life and standard of living in the custodial parent’s household.
Of course, these cases can become contentious if the custodial parent has significantly elevated his/her lifestyle upon receiving the child support by personally acquiring luxury items or has some sort of addictive behavior or habit which is expensive. (If the addiction is negatively impacting the child, a motion to switch custody might be filed). But generally, so long as the custodial parent is not spending money frivolously and properly caring for the child, there should not be a real problem. Nonetheless, you should take seriously how you spend your child support since the purpose of it is to ensure that BOTH parents are financially contributing to raising your child.
Disputes With Child Support Payments? Consult With A Divorce Or Family Law Lawyer
If you find you are on either side of this type of dispute, consulting with an experienced divorce or family law lawyer in the jurisdiction where your Court Order is filed would be wise.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog. Mr. Mues has also been a dog owner for 55+ years, and just recently, he and his wife are the owners of "Ralph", a rescued mixed Wire Hair and Jack Russell Terrier.