When parents pay child support, they want to know that the other parent is spending the money wisely. Some parents may even request that the recipient parent provide some sort of accounting for how they spend their child support funds.
But in general, the courts do not require parents to track their spending or account for how they use child support money. Still, some parents wonder if they should be keeping track.
Benefits of tracking expenses
If you collect child support, you do not have to account for your spending unless the courts tell you that you must. Generally, Nebraska courts only do this in cases where a child’s needs are not being met or when the paying parent provides evidence of “an abusive disregard of the use of child support money.”
If the courts order a parent to file a verified report, tracking expenses will be necessary.
Even if there is no such order, parents may find it helpful to keep track of how they spend child support funds and what their costs are. This information can be valuable if the parent paying child support makes baseless allegations of misuse, or in cases where the custodial parent feels more financial support is necessary.
The complications of tracking expenses
As much as parties may want a record of how a parent spends child support funds, the fact is that it can be more complex than people expect.
First, child support payments are often reimbursement for funds a custodial parent has already spent. Parents typically do not wait for a child support check to pay their bills or take their children shopping. Instead, the funds often go back into the recipient parent’s account with the rest of their money.
Further, child support funds cover the costs of raising a child. In other words, child support could go toward car payments, babysitters and entertainment.
Thus, without a court order requiring a report, it may not be realistic to expect a parent to provide receipts or accounting of exactly how they spend their child support.
Focus on what matters
If you receive child support, determining how and to what extent you track your spending will typically be up to you.
Unless parties have legitimate concerns, know that your focus should be on caring for your child, not going through your finances with a fine-toothed comb.