Child support is a sensitive issue for many divorced parents in the Bloomington, IL area. When parents divorce and one parent receives majority custody of the couple’s children, the noncustodial parent must remit regular child support payments to the custodial parent. The amount of child support required with each payment varies based on numerous factors. If you are subject to a child support agreement and are legally required to pay your ex child support, it’s natural to wonder whether they are using those funds appropriately. What happens when a custodial parent misuses child support payments?

It’s vital to consult your Bloomington, IL divorce attorney if you have any concerns about whether your ex is using your child support funds appropriately. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to address these situations because in the eyes of the law, as long as the custodial parent is providing for their child’s basic living needs, how they spend their child support money is immaterial in a legal sense.

If you think your ex is spending your child support money on themselves instead of your children, you must realize that if they are covering your child’s basic living needs, then it does not matter if they use your money or their own; ultimately, it comes down to the same cost, and the court upholds that both parents must financially contribute to their children’s wellbeing. However, you can take legal action if you believe your children’s custodial parent is not only misusing child support funds but also failing to provide for your children’s basic living expenses.

What Should Child Support Cover?

The family court of Illinois upholds that child support should help to pay for the cost of raising a child, including their food, shelter, and clothing costs. Many courts also uphold that child support can help pay for medical care and other necessary expenses like extracurricular activities at school and transportation. As the noncustodial parent paying support to your children’s custodial parent, you have very little room to take legal action for alleged misuse of the child support funds you provide unless the custodial parent is failing to handle your children’s basic living expenses.

When the family court of Bloomington, IL first determines child support in a divorce case or child custody determination, the court will use a very complex formula based on the income of both parents and the financial needs of their children to determine an acceptable amount of child support. Ultimately, the family courts of Bloomington, IL and throughout the US uphold that a child has the right to receive equivalent financial support from both of their parents.

Modifying Your Child Support Order

If you have solid evidence that your children’s custodial parent has failed to handle your children’s basic living expenses despite receiving child support payments from you, an experienced Bloomington, IL family law attorney can advise you as to whether filing a petition for modification of your child support order would be the best available course of action.

The modification process is relatively straightforward: the petitioner submits their proposed change to the Bloomington, IL family court, and the court reviews the petition to ensure it has been completed properly and holds legal merit. The court then sets a hearing date and notifies the other party beholden to the family court order in question. If you are the noncustodial paying parent filing a petition for modification, the respondent in this situation would be the custodial recipient parent.

At the hearing, both parents will have the chance to speak on the issue at hand and discuss the proposed change to the child support order. If you have evidence that your children’s custodial parent has not handled basic living expenses for your children despite receiving your child support payments, there are several possible outcomes. The court may require the other parent to provide a full accounting of their spending for a certain period of time to determine why they have failed to pay for your children’s basic living expenses. If you reveal that the custodial parent has willfully misused your child support funds, it could have a bearing on your case.

Potential Outcomes of Child Support Modification

Depending on the severity of your children’s custodial parent’s behavior and the breadth of their misuse of child support funds, the modification hearing could result in a number of different possible outcomes. If an investigation reveals that your ex misused child support payments while neglecting their children’s basic living needs, they could not only face a loss of their custody rights but also criminal charges for child neglect.

Every child support agreement will relate to a formal Allocation of Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities. This contract will reflect each parent’s custody rights and support obligations. If a parent has failed to uphold their legal obligations under their Allocation of Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities, the other parent has the right to request modification of this order. When you file a petition for modification due to your children’s other parent misusing the child support funds you pay, the court may not necessarily deem that a reduction or termination of your child support payments would suit your children’s best interests. Instead, the court may propose that expanding your custody rights to become the custodial parent would be the better remedy.

Find Legal Counsel to Help You

Ultimately, every family is unique and will have distinct concerns. If you have strong reason to believe that your ex is failing to provide for your children’s basic living expenses despite your consistent payment of child support, filing for modification of your child support order and/or Allocation of Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities may be the best possible option for legal recourse in this situation.

Whether you have any intention of securing greater custody rights over your children or simply want to ensure their custodial parent properly handles their living expenses from now on, an experienced Bloomington, IL family law attorney is your best asset for navigating modification of your child support order or Allocation of Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities. Contact a trustworthy family law attorney in Bloomington, IL as soon as possible if you feel that you need to address potential misuse of your child support funds.