Can I Spend Child Support Money Any Way I Want?
If you receive child support payments, the presumption exists that you will use that money to buy things that promote your child’s well-being. Defining what those things are, however, can be difficult. The law in Illinois provides some guidance regarding what child support payments should be used for, but such decisions are usually left entirely up to the recipient parent.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that both parents are responsible for contributing toward meeting the “reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child.” The parent granted a majority of the parenting time fulfills a portion of this responsibility by providing the child with his or her primary home and daily basic needs. The other parent, therefore, will usually be required to make child support payments based on the income of both parents and the number of children being supported.
Generally speaking, child support is intended to help cover expenses related to the child’s housing, food, clothing, and other essentials. The court may also order parents to assist with “add-on” costs, such as health care expenses not covered by insurance, educational expenses, and expenses associated with extra-curricular activities.
Will I Be Held Accountable?
The issue of how child support payments are spent may be more or less relevant depending on the nature of your relationship with your child’s other parent. It is important to understand, however, that Illinois law does not require recipient parents to maintain or provide an accounting of how the money is spent. Your former partner may have concerns about where “his” or “her” money is going, but unless there is evidence that you are neglecting or failing to provide for your child, the other parent’s concerns are not likely to affect your case.
If, however, the other parent can offer proof that you are wasting the money you have received and your child is suffering as a result, the court may take action. Justified allegations of neglect could result in a reduction of your parental responsibilities and parenting time, depending on the severity of the case.
Seek Experienced Legal Assistance
Parents want what is best for their children, and most are willing to make support payments if their children are benefitting. If you have questions regarding child support laws in Illinois or any other aspect of your parental rights and responsibilities, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you find the answers. Call MKFM Law for a confidential consultation today.