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Can you stop paying child support if your co-parent misuses it?

Contrary to popular belief, most noncustodial parents do not mind supporting their children financially after a divorce. Even so, it remains an area of frequent conflict between many parents.

One reason for such conflict involves the noncustodial parent questioning the other parent’s expenditures. Since you are supporting your children—not your ex—you may feel you should know how the money is used.

You cannot dictate support expenditures

Neither the courts nor you have a say in how custodial parents spend child support. Courts must assume that they use support funds to raise and care for your kids, not to benefit themselves. Tracking the use of child support is a monumental task that courts cannot undertake.

Still, your concern may be understandable if your ex suddenly sports expensive jewelry or plans a trip to Paris.

Do not take matters into your own hands

If you suspect your co-parent is misusing child support, do not stop making your payments. The state of Illinois has a variety of enforcement techniques to use in cases of non-payment. Examples include:

  • Interception of tax refunds
  • Suspension of driving and professional licenses
  • Engage a private agency to collect support funds
  • Place liens against your property and financial accounts
  • Seek criminal prosecution for non-payment (in severe cases)

Your name and photo could even appear on the delinquent parents’ webpage operated by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (child support division).

Your options

Instead of stopping your payments, reach out for legal guidance if you suspect the misuse of your child support funds. This approach ensures you remain compliant with your court orders while opening the door to solutions. 

For example, you could request a modification of child support orders to account for any funds your co-parent has to spend on luxuries that do not benefit your kids.