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Child support spending is interpreted broadly

Now that the family law court has set your child support amount, you may think you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, to your dismay, you feel anxiety about your child support check. What if your ex tells you what you can and cannot spend the money on? Can the courts regulate your spending? Will you get in trouble if you decide to spend child support on a nonessential item? These concerns are not uncommon for Tennessee parents who receive child support.

Fortunately, you are generally free to spend child support as you deem fit, explains FindLaw. This money, as you know, is intended to go toward your children's physical and emotional well-being. Thus, there are very wide range of expenses deemed acceptable for child support, including the following:

  • Basic living expenses and household necessities, such as rent, utility payments, soap and toilet paper
  • Food and clothing
  • School supplies, tutoring, sports, music lessons and tuition
  • Doctor visits, over-the-counter medicine, prescriptions and orthodontic braces
  • An emergency savings fund or future college tuition

Do not feel guilty if you decide to spend some of your child support on entertainment and gifts for your children, including birthday presents, restaurant meals, movie tickets or a road trip. After all, your children's emotional needs are also important. You can use child support to make memories and help your children feel happy, loved and secure.

You should not need to worry about your ex or the courts tracking your child support spending. When you fulfill your obligations to provide safety for your children and meet their basic needs, there should be little reason for anyone to intervene with your parenting. However, as you understand, some ex-spouses unnecessarily create difficult situations. You may need to seek assistance if your ex frequently harasses you about your child support expenses or tries to control how you spend the money.

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