After child custody and asset division, child support is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. It can be frustrating to pay a substantial amount of your income each month for the upkeep of children you see occasionally.
It can also be difficult for a parent who used to stay at home to support a family without child support. That's why the courts take great care to ensure the amount of child support ordered is based on the situation. Factors considered include standard of living, the income of both parents and any special needs of the children, such as medical costs or child care.
If you are paying child support, you want to know that it's going toward the care and upkeep of your children. It isn't always easy to determine how child support gets spent. You may have noticed new purchases happening around when you're paying your child support. If these items are for your ex spouse, the house or anything but your child, that could result in frustration or even anger. It's important to understand that as long as your child's basic needs are being met, there is no need or even legal route to micromanage child support use. Your spouse may use the funds at his or her discretion.
Paying support is your responsibility, using it is your ex spouse's
While you may wonder how the funds sent for child support are being used, you aren't entitled to any information about your former spouse's finances. Raising children is an expensive process that involves a lot of unexpected surprises. Field trips, lost teeth (or retainers), ripped jeans or a new book are just a few examples of sudden expenses that a custodial parent incurs on any given month. In addition to providing food, entertainment, transportation and clothing, your former spouse also has to provide shelter by paying rent and utilities. Balances finances as a newly single parent can be difficult.
As a non-custodial parent, you don't have any control over how the child support you pay is spent. Don't waste time agonizing over it and straining your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. Instead, use that energy to ensure your time with your children is as positive as possible. It's a great and responsible thing to help ensure your children are provided for after a divorce.
An attorney can help ensure support levels are fair
Because there are so many factors involved in determining support amounts, working with an experienced California family law and divorce lawyer is in your best interests. Your attorney can help ensure that the amount ordered reflects the needs of your children and allows you to meet all of your own financial obligations as well.