Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

What can I spend child support on?

As a divorced California parent, your children’s other parent likely pays you child support every month. But what can you spend that money on?

FindLaw explains that since the whole purpose of child support is to provide your children with the same standard of living that they enjoyed during your marriage, you can legitimately spend child support money on virtually anything and everything that supports your children.

Basic needs

Naturally, your children’s basic needs, such as their food, clothing and shelter, come first and foremost. But since your kids live with you, you can use your child support money to offset their share of your household expenses, including the following:

  • The amount you pay each month for your mortgage or rent
  • The amount you pay each month or otherwise for your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance premium
  • The amount you pay each month for utilities
  • The amount you pay for whatever maintenance and upkeep your home requires

Transportation, too, constitutes one of your children’s basic needs. Consequently, you can use your child support money to offset their share of your transportation expenses, including the following:

  • The amount you pay each month on your vehicle loan
  • The amount you pay each month or otherwise for your vehicle insurance premium
  • The amount you pay whenever your vehicle requires repairs
  • The amount you pay for whatever maintenance and upkeep your vehicle requires, such as its gas, oil, transmission fluid, steering fluid, tires, etc.

Nonessentials

Once you meet your children’s essential needs, you can spend the remainder of your child support money on the nonessential things that your kids want or require. For instance, any expenses associated with your kids’ private or public school represent legitimate expenditures for which you can use your child support money.

In addition, remember that your kids deserve reasonable play and enjoyment time. Therefore, using your child support money to take them to an occasional movie or send them to a summer camp or take them on a vacation represents a perfectly legitimate way in which to spend your child support money.

Bottom line, be assured that you have enormous flexibility in the things for which you can spend your child support money. Virtually the only limitation you face is that your expenditures benefit your kids.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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