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Child Support

Can I control what child support is used for?

One of the most frequent questions that our attorneys at Diamond Divorce in McHenry get from parents during a divorce proceeding is whether or not they get any say in how the support they pay is spent. It seems reasonable that if you’re paying child support you should get a say in how that support is spent right? 

The court doesn’t always see it that way. 

In almost all cases the parent that is paying child support doesn’t get to control what any child support payments are used for. 

From our legal team of experienced family law attorneys, here’s how the child support process in Illinois works.

Why Don’t Parents Get To Control How Child Support Money Is Spent?

It makes sense that a parent paying support would want to make sure that the support money is going to pay for the things that their child needs. 

But from the court’s perspective, it would be a logistical nightmare to try and police how a custodial parent was spending the child support money. Additionally, if a supporting parent could ask the court to oversee every purchase a custodial parent makes, it could open the door for continued spousal abuse in some situations. 

Sometimes parents think that the child support money they pay should be held in a separate bank account, where it can only be used to pay for expenses for their child. But that’s not necessarily how finances work – especially in a family situation. 

The spouse that has custody and is receiving child support needs to pay for rent or a mortgage, utilities, and food for the entire household, in addition to expenses solely for the child. Because the child is part of the household, the argument is that money for support goes into household spending, more generally.

What to Do if You Think Your The Child’s Needs Aren’t Being Met

If the supporting parent has a concern about the child’s well-being, they have every right to take that to the court and try to modify the existing arrangement. A Diamond Divorce lawyer can help you apply for a modification of an existing support order if you are paying support but you feel the support isn’t going to your child’s needs. 

For example, if you are paying the mandated amount of support, but the custodial parent isn’t providing the necessary food, clothing, or shelter for your child, you can ask to modify the custody arrangement or the support arrangement. Our Diamond Divorce lawyers have years of experience with family law and can help you petition to modify any of the existing child custody or child care arrangements that the court has already signed off on. 

However, if you suspect or have proof that your children’s welfare is in danger because of the actions of the custodial parent, you should call DCFS to investigate and make sure that the children are in a safe situation where they have shelter, clothing, and food. You may end up needing temporary custody of the children to ensure their safety before you go back to court to make more permanent arrangements. 

If you ask for a custody modification, that will give you more custody or even primary custody, which would necessitate a change in the amount of support that you are required to pay. A Diamond Divorce attorney can work with you to figure out what type of modification you need to make sure that your children are getting the care that they need.

Contact Diamond Divorce Today

Families are complicated, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to child support and custody in a divorce. Call us to talk with an experienced family lawyer today. The team members at Diamond Divorce are here to help you navigate the process of beginning a healthy new life for you and your children. 


 DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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