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Can I Count Items I Purchase For My Children Towards Child Support Payments?

California divorces focus on many aspects that dictate both spouses’ financial futures.

There is the matter of equitably distributing assets and debts, examining eligibility for spousal support, and outlining child support requirements when the couple shares minor children.

Once the details are finalized, the payments that follow can often be a point of contention between the divorced parents.

The parent receiving the child support wants to ensure the allocated amount is enough to pay for the children’s complete needs.

The parent paying the child support wants to make sure that the money is going to the children.

At the Law Office of Joyce Holcomb, our San Bernardino family law attorney often explains to the paying parents that there are no regulations about what child support payments can and cannot be used for. It is equally important for our clients to understand that items that are purchased for the children, including shoes, entertainment, or travel, cannot be applied to the upcoming child support payment that is due.

Simply put, spending money on your children is not a substitute for the actual support payment.

Generally, any payment — either directly to the other parent, or to the children — in any form outside of the agreement is considered a type of gift.

What California Child Support-Paying Parents Should Know

Child support is often seen as a monetary amount that covers only food, shelter, and clothing for the children.

In reality, child support is meant to cover a range of expenses including, but not limited to:

  • Necessities like food, shelter, and clothing
  • Education
  • Healthcare and medical care
  • Entertainment
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Childcare
  • Transportation

However, much like the custodial parent may purchase items like a new electronic device or provide cash in the form of an allowance for chores the child does around the home, the other parent can provide the same financial gifts or incentives in addition to their regular child support payments.

However, any payments made outside of the final agreement or court-ordered child support payments are a gift and have no connection to the support payments.

Do You Have Questions About Paying or Receiving Child Support In California?

If you have questions about divorce, child custody, or child support matters, contact our San Bernardino County Certified Family Law Specialist at the Law Office of Joyce Holcomb at (909) 889-7111 to discuss our California child support guidelines and how the court evaluates each parent’s circumstances on a case-by-case basis, so you know what to expect when facing your spouse inside and outside the courtroom.

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