Can I control how child support is spent?

Divorcing parents and parents who have not been married to one another and who have children must address child support and who must pay money to the other parent for the children’s needs. The parent paying child support sometimes feels he or she is paying too much money while the parent receiving child support may feel he or she is not receiving enough money to cover the children’s monthly needs. The issue of child support often sparks resentment.

Minnesota law says child support can be used for an array of expenses. The purpose of child support is that it provides payment of money to cover the children’s basic needs including food, clothing, housing, medical care, day care, education and extracurricular activities.

Child support can be spent to pay the mortgage payment or monthly rent. It may also be used for clothing, shoes, boots, winter clothing and clothing for a special event, such as a prom dress. Child support can also be used for vacations, school pictures and school lunches.

The law requires child support to be paid. But, it does not require the parent receiving child support to show the parent paying child support how the money is spent by presenting invoices or receipts. Understandably, some parents feel child support is being misused.

Parents should give consideration to consulting with a family law attorney every few years to see if child support may need to be recalculated because children’s needs change over time.

Jessica Sterle

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