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Can I tell my ex how to spend child support?

You work hard to make child support payments. So, when you see that your ex has purchased something expensive, you may feel like you and your children are being cheated out of those funds.

But, what can you do if you believe your ex is misusing your payments? Do you have the right to tell them how to spend that money?

Should child support only be spent on a child?

Child support payments should simply go toward the income of the custodial parent. The general idea, for example, is that if the custodial parent is covering the cost of the children’s school clothes, your payment may be covering the cost of gas, electricity or another expense.

For this reason, custodial parents don’t need to itemize the way support payments are used. Legally, you couldn't demand how your child support payments are used.

What if the children are in need of the payments?

If your ex is spending your child support payments, but neglecting to provide for your children’s basic needs, you may have reason to dispute the child custody arrangement in your favor. Basic necessities may include:

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Reasonable living accommodations
  • Hygiene products

A video game, however, would not count as a basic necessity that child support payments should cover.

What if I am overpaying?

If there has been a change in circumstance, such as your ex-spouse receiving a promotion, you may be able to modify your child support payments. However, you must petition the court to make a child support modification.

But, remember that no matter how drastically circumstances change, you will still be obligated to make child support payments until the child turns 21 years old. The only exception to this is if the child marries before then, is self-supporting, gets emancipated or joins the military.

Get help for your child support issue

If you believe your ex-spouse is neglecting the care of your children or you are in need of a child support modification, using the services of a skilled lawyer could help you win your case.

An attorney can advise you of your rights and working with you to develop a strategy for the best outcome possible.

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