As the parent with primary physical custody of the children, you should receive child support. This can come as a great relief to you and other custodial parents, but you may also have many questions, especially if you are given conflicting advice from your family and friends. Will my ex be able to dictate how I spend the money? Will the court monitor my spending or require receipts? These are valid questions and good reasons for concern.

FindLaw explains that your ex should not be permitted to control your child support spending or demand receipts, and the family law court also will not keep tabs on how you spend the money. While you likely understand that child support is meant for the benefit of your children, you are allowed to broadly interpret the expenses that count as necessary for your children’s physical and emotional well-being.

For example, you may choose only to spend child support on necessities for your children, such as food, clothing, doctor’s appointments and medication. You may also use it for household expenses like rent and utility bills. Perhaps you deem school tuition, extracurricular activity fees and school supplies important. Or, you can save some of the money toward future college expenses or for an emergency.

Child support need not be restricted to the necessities. Since your children’s emotional needs are also important, you may choose to spend it on something fun like a birthday gift or a movie ticket. This information is meant to educate you, but it should not replace the advice of a lawyer.