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Child Support: Can't We All Just Get Along?

     Recently my Facebook has been alive and thriving with debates about how child support paid by a noncustodial parent to a custodial should be allocated. The reason why this topic interests me is because 1. I have custody of my children and received child support from their father; 2. This debate is sparked by somebody on FB at least twice a year and in my opinion the statements are ridiculous and 3. It is very interesting to hear from the male/non-custodial parent viewpoint.

The overall consensus seems to be that child support is child support not mama support. This pains me. 

     Legally, Child support is issued under the idea that both parents are obligated to financially support their children regardless of the relationship status of the parents. Child support is financial support of children and does not include emotional support, intellectual support, physical care, or spiritual support which are often times neglected by non-custodial parents. So when people say child support is child support non momma support it’s the understanding they have that pains me.

According to the males who’s opinions I have read or have had voiced to me, child support should be used on the child; specifically on shoes, clothing, education, etc. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about that general belief. However, if I cover shoes, clothing, education, etc. completely with my income I don’t see the problem with getting my hair done when my child support payment comes in. As a parent, if I did not receive child support I would gladly neglect my personal needs and wants over those of my child but If I’ve covered expenses that should not wholly be me mine using my paycheck, your child support check pays me back for your share. Right? Doesn’t that make perfectly good sense?  

Mom says “Hey, you know we have to pay for the little one’s camp next week?”

Dad says “Damn I don’t get paid until the week after”

 Mom says “Cool, I’ll cover it and you can just pay me back” so she takes the money she had set aside to get her hair done to cover dad’s part of the camp fees and when he gets his check he pays her and she gets her hair done. 

I don’t see anything wrong with that. 

     The support you pay is only the share your kids need while they are with the custodial. You are still responsible for support during your time, just as the custodial parent is still responsible for support during her time. Child support bridges the gap in a way. 

     Now, I agree with guys who say that their children are being neglected. That’s an entirely different scenario in which you need to do more than sit on your ass and complain to your FB friends. If you truly feel like the needs of your child(ren) are not being met GO TO COURT. If you’re grown enough to make babies then you are grown enough to understand that you cannot make another grown person do what they don’t want to do. Meaning you can’t just call and cuss her out and talk shit about her on FB but continue to leave your legacy in her care. If she’s a deadbeat take the kids. Yes, I do believe that women can be dead beats as well. 

     Personally, I feel that my children are a representation of who I am and what my priorities are. So usually they look better than I do. Plus I'm a licensed cosmetologist so I do my own hair. Please don't take this blog post as an implication that I'm dealing with child support issues. It interests me because it seems to be a hot topic amongst my peers. 

     But when it comes to allocating child support I don’t feel that the father of my kids has no right what so ever to demand receipts. I might allow you to see a budget and you can decided based on that if I’m using enough money to take care of your kids but when and what funds I use is none of your business. There I’ve said. That’s my opinion. I think that all parents rather custodial or non-custodial should understand that the most dangerous place they can be is in their feelings when children are involved.  

     Below are some interesting excerpts from websites that may provide more insight as to how child support is viewed legally…not in your feelings. 

What Can Child Support Be Used For? 

A custodial parent can spend child support on almost anything. No federal law includes any rules for this, and most state laws don't address it either. Non-custodial parents may want reassurance that their child support payments are going toward their children's needs, but the law is not set up to provide such reassurance. It would be almost impossible for the custodial parent to account for every nickel spent.

Child Support Should Pay for Basic Needs

Technically, child support is supposed to cover housing, food, and clothing, but the costs of raising a child usually involve more than just these basic needs. There are expenses for school and after-school activities and for toys. Older teenagers might have car costs, such as auto insurance or gasoline.

Most child support payments easily cover a child's share of the household's basic expenses, with some money left over. A custodial parent can reasonably spend that money on the extras.

Custodial Parents Don't Have to Report on Spending

Because custodial parents don't have to submit an accounting to the court for their child support spending, it's possible that a parent could spend the money - or at least some of it - on the parent's personal needs. If a non-custodial parent suspects this is happening, he or she can notify the court, but probably won't get much of a response unless the child's needs are actually being ignored or neglected. Some states will order parents to mediation to try to work the problem out, but judges will rarely do much more than that.

What is Child Support Supposed to be Used For?

Child support is an amount payable by one parent to the other to make sure that a child is cared for and shares in, to some degree, the standard of living enjoyed by both parents. The purpose of child support is to protect the child from the economic impact of divorce or separation. Therefore, child support should be used for both the basic necessities of the child, such as food, shelter, childcare, and education, as well as the additional things that the child enjoyed during the marriage.

Because one purpose of child support is to ensure that the child shares in the standard of living of both parents, child support may be used to improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children. For example, if the child has a wealthy parent, that child is entitled to and therefore arguably needs something more than the bare necessities of life. Where the supporting parent enjoys a lifestyle that far exceeds the custodial parent's living standard, child support must to some degree reflect that the supporting parent’s lifestyle. This is so even though, as a practical matter, the child support payments will incidentally benefit others in the custodial household whom the non-custodial parent has no obligation to support such as the custodial parent, the custodial parent's new spouse, and the custodial parent's other children. Even where the non-custodial parent is not wealthy, child support payments may benefit the custodial parent and anyone else living within the home, because child support payments can be used to pay for heat, electricity, cleaning supplies, travel costs and car maintenance, and other expenses needed to properly care for the child.

While the child should share the same standard of living as both parents, this does not necessarily mean that the custodial parent can make a huge financial decision for the child, and then force the non-custodial parent to share in the expense. Having said this, because this determination will depend greatly on a case-by-case basis, a non-custodial parent should keep in mind that they cannot necessarily get out of contributing to an expensive decision made by the custodial parent. Take for example if a situation where the custodial parent decides to send the child to an expensive private school. In these cases, the court will look at the factors of each situation to determine who should pay what share.


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