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Can I control how my ex uses my child support payments?

If you pay child support, it can be frustrating if you make your payments in full and on time, but believe the other parent is not spending your contribution wisely. You might wonder if you have any power to control how the other parent spends child support.

The answer is generally no, you cannot monitor or control how the other parent spends child support. An exception would be if your child's needs are not being met, in which case the courts could order more detailed accounting.

It is important to understand that child support payments help a recipient parent cover the cost of all your child's financial needs, not just basic necessities. For instance, it can be used for everything from rent and vacations to babysitters and cellphone bills because all of these expenditures affect a child.

It is also important to recognize that in many cases, the parent receiving child support has already paid for these and other expenses. Oftentimes, they cannot wait to receive a child support check, so any money paid is often reimbursement.

While it can be tempting to stop paying if you have concerns about how your ex is spending child support, understand that doing so would be a costly mistake for a few reasons.

 

  1. Nonpayment can create more problems for you. You could wind up faceing financial penalties and potentially even jail time if you stop paying child support.
  2. It can hurt your child. If you stop making support payments, your child may not get the things he or she wants and needs.
  3. It can create destroy a co-parenting arrangement. The other parent may not trust you anymore and he or she could take action to modify custody if you are not making support payments.

 

Instead, you can talk to an attorney about the legal options for addressing child support payments and your child's needs if you have serious concerns. In some cases, it may be possible to modify an existing order. If your child's needs are being met, however, then you would be wise to focus on your commitment to your child rather than your ex's financial behaviors.

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