When you became the custodial parent after your divorce and began receiving child support payments, you might have received some unsolicited advice from others. A fellow single parent might have said you can spend child support on non-essentials. Your mother may have advised you to use the money for food and clothing for the children. Your ex might be asking you for receipts and giving you specific instructions on how to spend the money. Understandably, you and other Pennsylvania parents may wonder how free you are to spend child support as you wish.

According to FindLaw, child support is meant for your children’s well-being and comfort, but you can broadly interpret which expenses are applicable. For example, it is easy to see how you can spend the money on such items as school clothes, food and necessities for your kids. However, you also have the discretion to choose to spend part of your child support on a restaurant meal with your children, a trip to the movies or a birthday gift. These items can be seen as unnecessary, but they contribute to your children’s emotional well-being and happiness.

Your first responsibility is to take care of the immediate physical needs of your children. When these needs are met, you are free to spend child support in whatever way you deem appropriate. Whether you use the money on rent or for a weekend trip to the beach, the court will not intervene when your children are well cared for. This information is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a lawyer.