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Responding to Possible Child Support Misuse

Posted on in Child Support

Responding to Possible Child Support MisuseWhen contributing to child support, the paying parent is trusting that the recipient is using the money for child-related expenses. Misusing the money for selfish purposes is betraying the good-faith effort of the paying parent and possibly neglecting the needs of the children. However, most states lack mechanisms that monitor how a parent spends the child support payments that he or she receives. Suspicious behavior is not enough evidence to prove that a parent is misusing child support money. If you believe your former spouse is neglecting his or her financial responsibilities as a parent, you will need to prove that the misuse of money is hurting your children.

Purpose of Child Support

Child support is more than a requirement that you pay your former spouse if he or she has primary parenting time with your children. It is an agreement to share in child-related expenses, including:

  • Food;
  • Clothing;
  • Housing;
  • Medical expenses; and
  • Expenses related to school and extracurricular activities.

The parent with a majority of the parenting time is also assumed to be the parent who will be directly paying for most of the expenses, which is why he or she receives child support.

Difficulty with Enforcement

The total child support obligation between both parents is calculated based on the parents’ incomes and the number of children. Child support payments are meant to contribute to that total and should not be used for the recipient parent’s personal expenses. You may have a right to be upset if your co-parent is bragging about luxury purchases while you struggle to afford your child support payments. However, you cannot prove that your former spouse used the child support money on these purchases unless you have a detailed account of all of his or her income sources and expenditures. Your co-parent likely adds the child support payments to his or her general finances. As long as the children’s needs are being met, a court will have little reason to believe your co-parent is guilty of impropriety.

Your Recourse

You have a better chance of changing your child support payments than proving that your co-parent is misusing the money. You could argue that your payments should be lowered if you can barely afford to make them while your co-parent seems to have excess income. Showing that your children’s needs are not being met will also cause the court to examine the child support payments and how they are being used. If your co-parent is being neglectful and irresponsible, you can petition to have primary parenting time transferred to you. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you in making sure that your child support payments are fair. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


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