How can I make sure my support payments go for my child's needs?

If part of your paycheck is dedicated to making child support payments, you likely want every penny of that money to go toward covering your child's expenses. And as long as your child needs are being properly addressed, then you can feel good submitting those payments every month.

Unfortunately, sometimes a child's other parent will take money intended for the child and spend it in a selfish or frivolous fashion. Not only is this frustrating if you are the payer, but also short-changes the child and is definitely not in his or her best interests.

So what can you do to make sure that your hard-earned money is used properly? Well, one thing you can do is set up payments that go directly to third-parties that provide services for your child. That is, rather than hoping your child's other parent puts the money where it belongs, you can go straight to the source.

For example, you can send payments for health insurance, school tuition, activities and lessons straight to the providers. By doing this, you ensure that your child's needs are being met in a way that you see fit.

But if you do go the direct payment route, you may end up paying a little more than you would if you simply paid a lump sum as dictated by your support agreement. You see, if the third parties raise their rates, you will be responsible for paying the increased amount while the child's other parent will likely bear the brunt of the increase if he or she is receiving a lump sum.

But direct payments to third parties make sense if you simply don't trust the child's other parent to use the support money wisely. And if you want more specific advice on this subject, you may want to contact an experienced family law attorney.

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