Family courts in New York do not typically monitor how a parent uses the other parent’s child support payments. As you might imagine, tracking these expenditures would be difficult or impossible. It would also compromise the efficiency of a court system already clogged with divorce, child custody and support issues.

Most people use child support only to provide for a child’s needs, but many noncustodial parents worry that their ex may be misusing these funds. To clear up any confusion about what these funds are for, consider the following partial list of appropriate support expenditures.

  • Basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing
  • Medical care for the child not covered by insurance
  • Child care expenses so that the custodial parent may continue working
  • Educational supplies such as notebooks, pencils, paper, etc.
  • Extracurricular activities like summer camp, sports and noneducational activities
  • Basic costs associated with transporting the child
  • In some cases, child support may cover college expenses

Unfortunately, some parents do misuse the other parent’s hard-earned child support payments. For example, if your co-parent uses support to pay for manicures or evenings out with friends, you may indeed have a problem. Taking your concerns to a lawyer experienced with child custody and support is a wise step. Your attorney can help you look deeper into your situation to determine if you need to take further action.

If it turns out that your co-parent is misspending support funds, you and your lawyer can petition the family court to look into your case. One possible solution may be to modify the support order in a way that prevents your ex from taking advantage of your payments.