Support monies collected are assumed to be used for the child's expenses, including food, clothing, and ordinary educational needs. They are not meant to be used as "spending money" for the child or the parent. Courts might have held that it is unacceptable for child support payments to be used to directly benefit the custodial parent however such rulings are rare and difficult to prove or enforce.This might be wishful thinking. It is not the law in the USA. (I will edit this if no one else does, so it may read something else when you read this.)
In the USA, most child support orders are based on formulas of past income, and are unrelated to child expenses. The recipient is not required to spend the money on the child.
Here is Calif FC 4053:
(f) Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children.So if the ex-husband wins the lottery and buys himself a Rolls Royce car, then the ex-wife can demand an increase in child support and spend all the money on a Rolls Royce for herself. Even if the ex-husband puts all the lottery winnings in the bank for his retirement, the ex-wife gets a percentage that she may spend on herself as she pleases.
(g) Child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children's living standards in the two homes.
And the more she withholds visitation and custody to the dad, the greater percentage she gets.
The whole child support system is destructive, and ought to be abolished. It sends good men to jail, it fuels custody fights and false accusations, it creates horrible disincentives against marriage and children, and the money is not even spent on the kids.
it's my understanding child support money is not counted as taxable income for the recipient parent.
That is correct. Alimony is taxable, but child support is tax-free, even if spent on luxuries for the mom.
Let's also bring to light the fact that in many states, the amount calculated for child support is taken from Pre-tax or gross income. This translates into a double "hit" on the payor, who pays the recipient a "tax-free" amount, but also gets docked by the feds for income he never sees!
Speaking of the Feds, more should be done to research and spotlight the monetary incentives the U.S. Gov. pays states to a) establish child support orders, b) process collections of child support
due, and c) collect arrearages owed. Look up Title IV D, U.S. Social Security Act Section 458, otherwise referred to as 42 U.S.C. Chapter 7, Part D Sec. 658a - Incentive Payments to States.
Connect the dots folks - the family courts have every incentive to separate the paying parent from his kids to drive higher support amounts, impute income that's not realistic, and when the payor falls behind due to a job loss or other circumstance, go after the arrearages which carry compounding interest at rates multiple times higher than commercial bank rates.
This is a government sponsored, anti-family racket, and should be called out as such.
Yes, it is TAX FREE income to the mother and to make it even more crappy to the father, he cannot deduct it from his taxes! Does this look to you like the mother is advantaged on purpose?
the other thing to keep in mind is that prosecutors are promoted by how many successful "wins" they get. I think it's safe to say child support services is indeed acting as a prosecutor. Add that to the tax free income incentives to the recipient and you have the mess you see today. Would be curious as to how these laws came about and what were the justifications and who were the lobbyists.
Child support creates an incentive to not work with the non-custodial parent. The more evidence that you can't work together, the more likely you are to win more time with the kids, and thus more child support. Child support also takes away the ability for an NCP to actually have any say about what goes on in the kids life, because who controls the money gets to make the decisions at the end of the day. Unless the NCP is wealthy, they don't have the money left after CS to afford to make those decisions.
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