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Ask Dave

Child Support Or Charity?

Lance is getting worried that the money he gives his wife for child support is going elsewhere, and not in a good way.

QUESTION: Lance is 41, divorced and has 3 kids. He pays $18,000 a year in child support. His ex-wife is a real spender, with coats and jewelry. Her second marriage failed and she’s in bad financial shape. He still pays child support and additional expenses. Now that he sees these garnishments, he thinks he’s just throwing away money.

ANSWER: Your ex-wife is lying to you. You can buy things like prom dresses and sports uniforms on occasion for a child, but $1,500 a month should take care of the kids and include some prom dresses. Your ex-wife is irresponsible with money and you can take care of the kids, but not you. Tell her to not send emails to you asking for money. You can do things for your children, but you do it. Don’t have the money go through her. The right thing is to make sure your kids are fed and clothed, and within reason, whatever you do beyond child support, you do. If she comes to you ahead of time and the kid brings it to you, I’ll participate, but give it to the kid.