Should there be accountability for child support spending?

If you are a California parent who pays child support to your children's other parent, you may doubt that all of your hard-earned support dollars go to your kids.

California imposes no mandates on the way child support is spent. This gives the parent receiving the support unfettered freedom to live high off the hog on the former partner's dime with no guarantee that the children receive the monetary benefits.

Because of this, many California parents who pay support resent being treated like ATMs when the kids report that they need another pair of gym shoes or a dress for the big dance. They question whether all or even the bulk of their child support money goes toward upkeep for the children.

This can be even more frustrating when a high-earner has a child out-of-wedlock with a custodial parent with whom the support-paying parent has only a tenuous relationship. Having to foot the bill for the next 18 years to support the lifestyle of another adult can stress even the most patient of parents.

What can a noncustodial parent do if he or she believes that the child support money is being diverted to fund another adult's daily activities? The options are pretty limited.

A noncustodial parent can petition the court for a child support modification or even to be awarded custody of the child(ren) in some cases. But the family courts are loathe to remove children from one parent's home unless there are serious issues that demand such action be taken.

There is another way to force a sea change in the way child support is viewed in California, and that is to lobby legislators to pass laws demanding oversight of the ways child support is spent by noncustodial parents.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Child Support Accountability: Where Is It?," Fred Siberberg, accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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