What Does Child Support Cover in Beverly Hills?
Money is often a source of strife and argument in a relationship. Spouses and partners disagree on how they should use their money. Regardless of their disagreements about money, parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children’s care and financial needs.
Even though you and your child’s other parent might not be in a relationship, it does not relieve your obligation to support your child financially. California child support laws require both parents to care for their children by providing for their financial support.
Therefore, in most cases, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. However, what does child support cover in California child custody cases?
Determining Child Support Payments in California
California has child support guidelines that calculate child support amounts each parent should pay. The child support obligations are contained within a child support order. The child support guideline calculator bases child support payments on factors including:
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child
- The income of each parent
However, the child support guidelines consider other factors when determining the amount for a child support case. Other factors and expenses the family courts consider include:
- Potential tax deductions
- Medical expenses
- Health insurance premiums
- Educational expenses
- Basic support for shelter, food, and clothing
- Childcare costs
- Entertainment and extracurricular expenses for the child
The goal of the child support guidelines is to ensure that each parent contributes a fair amount for the financial support of their child. The guidelines also strive to ensure that the child’s basic needs are met.
However, what happens if a parent believes their child’s other parent is not spending child support money for the child’s needs? What can a parent use child support payments for in California?
Expenses and Costs Covered by Child Support Payments in California
Child support payments cover the basic needs of the child. Examples of the things child support should cover are listed above in the factors courts consider when calculating child support payments.
Therefore, child support payments can be used to pay the following:
- Daycare bills
- Private school tuition
- Medical bills
- Health insurance premiums
- Fees for sports and clubs
- Costs of entertainment, including movies, eating out, amusement parks, etc.
- The cost of clothing and personal items
- Mortgage or rent payments for the child’s residence
- Utility bills for the residence where the child lives
Unfortunately, the family courts do not have the resources or ability to account for or monitor how parents spend child support payments in every case. The parent paying child support has no say in how the custodial parent spends child support payments. There is no automatic right for the non-custodial parent to demand a monthly accounting of how child support payments are used.
Courts rarely intervene in these situations. However, the court might intervene if there is sufficient evidence that a child is being neglected. For example, a judge could order a custodial parent to explain why a child is neglected or does not have basic necessities by demonstrating how they use the child support payments each month.
What Can You Do if You Believe Your Ex-Partner Is Not Using Child Support Payments To Benefit Your Child?
Talk with a Beverly Hills child support attorney about your suspicions. A lawyer can review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Then, depending on the situation and the evidence, the attorney might file a motion with the court requesting that a judge review the matter.
However, you would likely need to prove your child is being neglected before a judge would intervene regarding how child support payments are used. In many cases, judges assume that the non-custodial parent does not “see” how the payments are being used to benefit the child because the parent does not live in the same household as the child.
For example, the non-custodial parent does not realize that the child support payments are used to pay mortgage payments so that the child has a safe place to live. Alternatively, they might not know that the custodial parent uses some of the support payments to pay for fuel to take the child to and from school and other activities.
Unfortunately, child support payments are usually deposited into a parent’s bank account and commingled with other funds. Therefore, it is easy for a parent to “create” an accounting claiming that the child support payments are used for financial expenses that benefit the child.
Instead of directly attacking your child’s other parent for failing to use child support funds to benefit your child, it might be easier to prove your child is being neglected. Neglect is willfully failing to provide clothing, food, shelter, education, medical care, and other basic needs for a child.
For example, your child does not have adequate clothing. Their shoes are too small, and their clothes are overly worn and damaged. Another example might be that your child is malnourished or does not take medication as prescribed by a physician.
Evidence of neglect can include, but is not limited to:
- Statements made by the child
- Medical records show weight loss or other medical problems caused by failing to provide care
- School records showing behavioral indicators of neglect
- Direct observations by parents, family members, friends, teachers, and other individuals in the child’s life
- Corroboration of lack of adequate child care and supervision
- Photographs and videos demonstrating a lack of a safe, clean home
Keep a detailed journal with notes about evidence of neglect. Copies of emails, text messages, social media posts, and other written evidence can also be helpful. Save voicemails and messages from your child and the other parent showing neglect or a lack of care.
Before confronting your child’s other parent about neglect, talk with our Beverly Hills child custody lawyers. The steps you take now could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Therefore, it is wise to have legal advice about how to proceed and your options if you believe your ex-partner is neglecting your child by using child support payments for their benefit instead of the child.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Beverly Hills Child Support Lawyers
Do you have questions about what your child support payments cover? Contact our experienced attorneys at Berenji & Associates to schedule a consultation with an experienced Beverly Hills child support attorney. We are here to help you protect your and your child’s best interests.