Should Children Know About Child Support?
In many child-related cases, one parent or the other may be required to pay child support. Paying child support is never fun. I have never had a parent do backflips over the fact that they have been ordered to send a check to the other parent that they are no longer in a relationship with. However, this is about the well being of your children and there are basic rules to how much your child should be exposed to regarding circumstances child support.
How is My Ex Spending the Child Support Money?
Often, I am asked if the other parent can be required to itemize a list of how they are spending the money that they are sending to them. Child support is intended to be utilized by the recipient to maintain the entire household. It is intended to assist financially in the parent’s ability to provide appropriate housing and to meet the child’s needs. How the money is spent, is not itemized in any respect. The money is not being paid so that the parent can utilize every single dollar for a tangible item for the benefit of the child.
“Go Ask Your Dad for Money.”
Often, I hear parents telling children to make a financial request, often to get the money from the other “rich parent” that is paying for child support. This puts the child in a position to negotiate their financial needs. In one way the child gets insight into the “adult world” and feels empowered, but ultimately this hurts the child’s self-esteem. How the finances are handled between the parents is not an issue that needs to be addressed or made known to the child. Again, this makes the child feel guilty because one parent is having to give money to the other parent to take care of them and it also can make the child resent the parent who is receiving the money because it is making the paying parent ‘so unhappy’. The younger the child, the less involved they should be in any financial dealings.
There are times when children become so entangled in the child support issues between the parents, that they develop hostility and they begin demanding financial or material things, based upon that parent’s receipt of money on their behalf.
Who Pays Our Children’s Necessities?
Another issue that arises is purchasing books, clothes, uniforms or any other necessary items for the minor child. When a child moves from one house to the other, they should not be required to bring clothes from the other house when they leave. Both parents should maintain an appropriate wardrobe and all of the appropriate items for the minor child. They should not direct the children to bring things from the other parent’s home. They should not direct the children to tell the other parent to buy them things because they have more money or they get child support. This again puts pressure on children to be searching for items that they are required to bring to the other parents’ home when they return. Deal with it between each other or handle your own end.
I have seen situations where a parent will punish a child for not bringing things from the other parent’s residence or require the child to go back into the other parent’s home to retrieve certain items, which generally causes an all-out war between the parents in the driveway. This is witnessed by the children and oftentimes ends with the police responding.
Protect Your Children at All Costs
Parents need to avoid all situations which could potentially cause harm to the child, or potentially cause an outburst, in the presence of the children. In a situation where the parents are paying equal amounts or a percentage of expenses for the minor child, both parents should provide the receipts to the other parent and proof of payment so that they may be reimbursed. This information or receipts are not to be transported by the child or communicated through the child.