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When the court orders one parent to pay child support to the other parent, the supporting parent may feel some resentment at handing over what may be no small sum of money each month. Nevertheless, the laws in New Jersey and all states require parents to provide for the needs of their children. When parents do not live together, child support is often the most appropriate way of meeting this obligation. However, the receiving parent also has a responsibility to use the money for the best interests of the child.

A parent who receives child support may use the money for any expense that will provide the child with a reasonable standard of living. This can include clothing, school supplies and extracurricular activities. If the child is not on a parent’s health care plan, child support may also cover medical, dental and other costs. A parent may also use the money to buy food, furniture and even toys for the child.

While child support may help a parent cover necessities such as the mortgage, rent and other bills, it should not become an extra income for the other parent to use indiscriminately. A parent who uses child support for trips to the hair salon or nights out with friends may be violating the court order. Even if money is left over at the end of the month, the parent should set it aside for future expenses for the child.

Child support issues can be delicate matters. Some parents who are under a court order to pay support may have questions or concerns about the amount they pay or the way the other parent uses the money. Those receiving child support may still find it difficult to make ends meet, or they may fight for each payment. Working with an attorney to resolve child support issues may relieve some of the stress of this challenging situation.