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Why doesn't my ex have to account for my support money?

A constant source of frustration for divorced parents who have to pay child support is that they often doubt that their hard-earned money is actually going to their child. They often suspect the money is going to fund the receiving parent's lifestyle or unnecessary items.

Those parents often wish there was a way to force the receiving parent to account for every last dime of support. Well, there are two reasons that isn't usually done. Understanding the reason Illinois doesn't normally demand an accounting of child support may help you accept the situation.

First, the statute doesn't demand it

Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/505 controls the way child support is handled. The fact is that there is no provision that requires the receiving parent to provide proof of how the child support was spent. Laws that govern the expectations laid on divorced people are generally designed to minimize disputes and encourage public peace.

If recipient parents had to account for all the child support they receive, it would be a big burden on them. In addition, it could lead to countless arguments. For example, imagine that a recipient parent spends the support on piano lessons for the child -- but the paying parent thinks piano lessons are a waste of money. The arguing could end up in court and cause endless problems.

Second, you may not really understand the purpose of child support

Child support is designed to help keep the child in the lifestyle he or she would have enjoyed if the parents hadn't divorced. While that's not always possible, it does mean that support can go for things that are not directly related to the child's expenses.

For example, indirect expenses that benefit the child can include:

  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Family trips
  • Nannies
  • Transportation
  • Family entertainment

A lot of the time, the paying parent sees these things as "extras" or doesn't realize that it's perfectly okay for child support to be used on those things. Not every dollar has to be spent solely for the child's school clothes, food, toys and so on.

Just the same, if you really believe your ex is misusing your child support or that a modification of support is in order, you should consult with an attorney about the situation.

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