Acceptable ways to spend child support beyond the necessities

Now that your divorce is over and you are starting to receive child support, you decided to celebrate your newfound freedom from an oppressive and controlling marriage by taking your kids to Walt Disney World. You mainly funded the trip from your own income, but you used a portion of your child support for meals and gifts for your children.

Upon arriving home, you weren’t very surprised, but certainly intimidated, when you received angry text messages from your ex demanding a breakdown of your child support spending during the trip. Can he control how you spend child support?

The way your ex is trying to dictate your child support spending might make you wonder if you could get in trouble for spending the money on nonessentials. Of course, you know that you can spend it on necessities, such as food, clothing, utilities, medicine and household goods. Additionally, you can use child support to contribute to your children’s emotional well-being, which is also important. If you’ve covered the basics, you have the right to use child support for the following expenses that others might not see as essential:

  • Trips and restaurant meals with your children
  • Birthday and holiday gifts
  • Hobbies and extracurricular activities, such as art classes and dance lessons
  • Payments for a used car you purchased when your child turned 16
  • Savings for an emergency or future college tuition

Despite what your ex might tell you, you are not accountable to him for your child support spending, and the courts will not intervene if you are fulfilling your responsibilities in keeping your children safe, healthy and secure. However, as you may be aware, ex-spouses can often be difficult. You are entitled to seek legal counsel if your ex’s claims leave you feeling confused or threatened.


At Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., we care about our clients and about helping them resolve the legal issues they face in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Our law firm is led by attorney Carl J. Ohall who, for more than 25 years, has helped people throughout the Tampa area overcome legal challenges that affect their families, finances & health.

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