how to account for support payments

Child Support Accountability

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In the wake of a divorce or breakup, when there are kids, child support factors into most equations. These payments cover the cost of food, shelter, and other necessities for your children. But how can you be sure? How do you go about ensuring child support accountability?

When you write a check every month, metaphorically or otherwise, you want to make sure your ex uses the money as intended. That’s natural, but not always so easy.

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Child Support Payments

Child support payments, as we said, go toward the regular costs of raising a child. If you’re the custodial parent, they come to you, if not, you’re likely the one making them.

Overall, the larger goal is to ensure your kids maintain a similar lifestyle and level of financial security as before the divorce. The court arrives at the amount by taking into account many factors. This includes age, the income of both parents, and more. All in all, it’s follows a general formula.

Maintaining a “similar lifestyle” after divorce can be difficult.

  • When divorce splits parents up, the two households must continue to provide for the children.
  • The collective income of both households is a key factor in calculating support. However, the court doesn’t consider the expenses of each.
  • Divorce represents a new financial reality for both spouses. Each must maintain a household on an often radically different budget than before. Factor in child support and that becomes tricky.

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Child Support Accountability

It’s important to note that the custodial parent can spend the money you pay for child support how they see fit. This means, in most cases, they’re not required to detail how they use the support money. There’s not a ton of oversight or accountability when it comes to child support.

On some occasions, the court may require detailed reports on expenses. These must show how your ex allocates the funds for specific costs. Exceptions can be made for child care, un-reimbursed medical costs, extracurricular activities, and children with special needs.

Again, though this does happen sometimes, it’s quite rare.

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Keeping Track

It’s imperative to make support payments through the appropriate channels so you have documentation. Too often, parents try to accommodate each other.  They make arrangements other than what the support order outlines. This often leads to problems. Especially if your ex isn’t on the level.

Without proper documentation, the court has no proof you made your payments. These side deals can go south if your ex claims you didn’t pay. Without proof, you may wind up on the hook for money you already handed over.

If you find yourself in this type of situation or dealing with a custody case, know your rights. Especially as they pertain to your specific situation. Know what you’re supposed to pay or receive, and take steps to make sure it happens.

In the end, child support is about making sure your kids are taken care of. Their well-being is paramount and should be the primary focus.

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