I get asked this question almost daily. No matter if it is the man paying child support or the woman the person wants to know exactly how the money is being spent. There are many reasons for wanting to know. Some are:
- I know it does not cost this much each month
- She/he just bought a new car
- I see the fancy shoes she is wearing
- He is going out on the town all the time
- He is taking expensive trips
- She has a new expensive purse each time I see her
I tell my clients the same thing I am telling you here, it does not matter. You cannot ask that person to itemize every penny that they receive in child support for you. There are many reasons for this:
- It would be nearly impossible. Think of the groceries alone, how is the receiver of support supposed to detail out how much was spent on the kids versus the adult
- Arbitrary. You may not think something is an expense for the child but he/she does think it is.
- Irrelevant. This is perhaps the most important one. The Court will not care if he/she spent every penny of the child support on themselves instead of the children because child support is based on a calculation of your net resources. It is not based on what the actual expenses of the child are.
- Fluctuates. The amount spent each month on the child fluctuates. One month it might exceed child support and the next be significantly lower than the child support amount. That is why we do not calculate support based on actual expenses.
I realize that the person paying support is used to having an idea of where their money is being spent each month. They are used to knowing how much groceries, rent, car payments, school uniforms, extracurricular activities, etc. Unfortunately when two people separate there is no longer this breakdown for you and instead you are Ordered by the Court to pay a set amount each month.
The other thing I tell clients is the ways in which child support can be lowered:
- Lower paying job – but be careful if you intentionally under employ yourself this will not work.
- Change conservatorship – this would require the other person to be paying you child support. In order for this to work you would have to have grounds to modify the prior Order though.