Are There Limitations to What You Can Use Child Support For?

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Sunday December 11, 2020.

If you are receiving child support, it’s important that you understand the rules that govern how you can and cannot use this money. Child support isn’t extra money you can use however you wish. There are rules that require you to use it to cover your child’s basic needs. There is a good amount of leeway in how these needs are defined, but if you misuse this money, the consequences can be severe.

What Can You Use Child Support For?

The category of “basic needs” is quite broad, but in general, child support can be broken down into a few different areas. Food, housing, and clothing are all obvious basic needs. This means you are allowed to use child support to pay your rent and your utility bills in addition to buying groceries and other necessities. Medical care is also allowed. Child support can be used to buy anything related to your child’s education, the cost of daycare or sitters, and the cost of transportation. This latter category includes car maintenance, gas, insurance, and even your car payments in addition to the cost of bus fair and other tickets. 

You may also use child support for extracurricular activities and even for entertainment. This includes after-school sports programs, summer camps, club, and other activities that enrich your child’s life. You can even use child support for entertainment, including television and video-on-demand services, movie tickets, internet fees, camping, trips to amusement parks, and more. These activities do need to be age-appropriate, however.

What You Cannot Use Child Support For

While the above list does cover many things, there are still a number of things that are considered misuse of funds. For example, anything you purchase for yourself or other family members that your child cannot or will not need. You can’t use your child support money to buy yourself clothing, jewelry, or electronics that you child won’t use. Paying for services that only affect you, such as haircuts or a gym membership, is also not allowed. If you take a trip without your child, you may not use child support money to pay for it. In short, anything that your child will use or that they need is fine, but anything they are not a part of is a misuse of child support money.

Make it a Holiday Tradition to Update Your Will and Testament

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Friday December 11. 2020.

When did you last update your will and testament? If you haven’t updated this important document within the past several years, it may be outdated. You may have additional heirs who need to be added to your will, or you may need to remove an heir. Your assets may also have changed. One good idea to ensure your will is always current is to make updating it a holiday tradition.

Why Update Your Will Yearly?

Many people may wonder why updating their will every year is necessary, especially if their assets and heirs haven’t changed. You may not actually need to make changes every year. However, you should still review your will annually. This will remind you of what your last wishes are and give you the opportunity to make changes.

Making this a Habit Ensures Changes Are Made

If you’ve had a new child, gotten divorced, or had any other major life changes, you may recognize that you need to update your will. However, life is busy. You may keep planning on making an appointment to have your will updated, but then you never seem to find the time to do so. If you make updating your will a holiday tradition, you’re more likely to do it because it’s a routine task. This helps ensure that these major life changes are reflected in your will. If they aren’t and you unexpectedly die, it can cause considerable work for your heirs.

Why Update Your Will Around the Holidays?

There’s no specific reason to updating your will around the holidays as opposed to any other time of the year. However, most people do tend to think about things in defined terms, whether that term is a week, a month, or a year. By updating your will around the holidays, you can look at the past year and determine what may have changed. It can be easier to list changes from January up to December instead of from last year’s June to this year’s June. As the year closes, most people have already made all of their major purchases or life changes. However, if you have a wedding scheduled for late December, you can always schedule your meeting to update your will a little later. Just make sure it gets done.