What can I spend my child support money for?

As a divorced parent receiving monthly child support payments, you likely have heard plenty of swirling rumors regarding what you can and cannot spend that money on. Some declare that you can only spend it on your children’s basic needs. Others declare that almost anything goes. Who should you believe?

FindLaw reminds you that the reason why Texas and all other states passed child support laws was to ensure that, as much as possible, children of divorced parents continue to enjoy the lifestyle they did prior to their parents’ divorce. You therefore have considerable discretion when it comes to the various things on which you can legitimately spend your child support money.

Basic needs

Naturally your children’s basic needs take precedence as you spend your child support money. Recognizing that your children represent a specific percentage of your household, you can therefore expend child support funds on their portion of your ongoing household bills including the following:

  • Groceries
  • Mortgage or rent payment
  • Electric, gas, water, and other utility bills
  • Home cleaning supplies
  • Car payment
  • Home and car maintenance and/or repair bills

Child support money can also go for such basic needs as your children’s clothing, shoes, etc.

Other valid expenditures

No one expects your children to live as Spartans. While they do not objectively “need” such things as computers, cellphones, cable TV, etc., all of these represent valid child support expenditures. So do the following:

  • School and/or daycare expenses such as tuition, books, uniforms, activity fees, supplies, etc.
  • Sports, music and other organized recreational activities
  • Summer camps and vacations
  • Occasional movies
  • Occasional fast food or restaurant meals
  • Occasional amusement park visits, etc.

Bottom line, anything that benefits your children represents a valid use of your child support money.

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