A Review of What Child Support Payments Are Meant to Cover

Arguments involving child support payments are usually hard-fought issues. Many times, a parent is struggling to keep up their payments and feels financially drained. At the same time, their ex might feel as if the other parent isn’t contributing enough. 

Arguments often pivot to what the receiver is using the money on, and it isn’t unusual for people to accuse the ex of spending their hard-earned money too frivolously or in ways that don’t directly benefit the child. Many of these misunderstandings can stem from a lack of familiarity with what child support payments are intended for in CA. 

To help provide a clearer picture, here’s what the CA family law courts expect parents to spend child support payments on:

  • Essential necessities: the essentials include food, shelter, and clothes and can involve rent payments, mortgage and utilities, groceries, and more.
  • Educational costs: This can include a wide range of expenses, including uniforms, computers and other related tech, books, enrollment costs, and tuition.
  • Medical costs: Routine expenses can include glasses, dentist visits, medical-copays, and prescription drugs. 
  • Childcare costs: The receiving parent can choose to hire help such as babysitters, a nanny, and more. 
  • Expenses involving extracurricular activities and entertainment: Anything that directly benefits the child can fall in this category, including things like cable and internet bills, video game purchases, toys, trips and experiences such as summer camp, and plenty more.

Note that in CA, there aren’t many legal venues for parents to force the other party to spend child support payments a specific or certain way. Even if you think certain expenses are excessive or wasteful, the courts may disagree and at the end of the day your monthly payment amount is the same regardless of how the ex uses the money.

We Can Assist with Modifications to a Child Support Order

That said, if you feel like the child support order itself needs to be changed or modified due to a change in circumstances, you have options. You can request for a modification to your child support arrangement, something that you’ll want to do with the assistance of a qualified divorce attorney. 

At the Law Offices of James P. White, we’re here to help you navigate any type of family law matter, including but not limited to modification of support requests, other child support disputes, and anything else relating to divorce or family law in CA.

We offer free initial consultations. Call us today to speak with a qualified California divorce attorney.