It’s the holiday season, and people everywhere are feeling the financial pinch — parents most of all. It can be a struggle to pull enough out of the monthly budget to make sure that your kids have gifts under their tree.
Can child support be used to buy Christmas presents? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re receiving child support
Child support is, essentially, your ex-spouse’s share of the living and medical expenses that come with having children. According to the state, “The goal is to have children share in the standard of living of both parents.”
That means, if your ex-spouse is affluent, you may have more than enough child support money to provide for your child’s basic needs — and there is no rule that says you cannot use some of the excess money to buy presents. Your ex cannot dictate how the money is spent nor force you to account for every dollar.
If you’re paying child support
What about if you’re a not-so-affluent parent who is paying child support? Money is already tight, so finding more for holiday gifts is going to be difficult. It would be much easier on you if you could tell your ex-spouse to allocate part of the monthly check for the kids’ presents.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that. The support money you pay is designed to cover your children’s basic needs, so you can’t just tell your ex to divert the money to gifts and skip the utility bills this month.
Child support issues can sometimes escalate during this time of year. If you suspect you have a problem, it may be time to learn more about your legal rights.