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Is there anything more infuriating than seeing your ex with a new phone right after child support payments were deposited into their account? The idea that your ex may be spending child support payments on themselves instead of the child is likely to spark anger in even the most easy going non-custodial parent. And, this is especially true if you notice your child’s basic needs are being neglected in favor of frivolous purchases.

How Much Control Do I Have Over How Payments are Spent?

The answer is actually “not much.” Custodial parents are under no legal obligation to itemize how they spend the child support they receive. They are also under no legal obligation to spend it on the child, or according to the non-custodial parent’s instructions. This means that a custodial parent may choose to spend the child support payments on rent, groceries, healthcare, or other living expenses. Since the child benefits from all the aforementioned expenses, a custodial parent is perfectly within their right to spend child support payments on those things. 

So, My Ex Can Do Anything They Want with the Payments?

Courts aren’t interested in micromanaging child support payments if the child isn’t being neglected. Does that mean that your ex can go to Vegas with the guys using the child support payments? As long as he isn’t neglecting your children, yes, he can go to Vegas with the guys funded entirely by your child support payments. Furthermore, the court is similarly uninterested in whether or not you feel as though your ex really does need the amount the courts decided upon when you were ordered to pay child support.

When Will the Courts Step In?

The courts do, however, care if your ex is misusing child support and neglecting your children. If your ex is neglecting your child, the child may have frequent, unexplained absences from school and failing grades. A neglected child may wear dirty, ill-fitting clothes and have poor hygiene. A neglected child may also have untreated medical or dental issues as well. Since abuse can occur alongside neglect, you should also familiarize yourself with symptoms of abuse.


What to Do If You Believe Your Child Is Being Neglected?

If you believe your child is being neglected, start with looking for the symptoms and document your findings in great detail. In cases of suspected child-neglect, extensive documentation could be an important part of proving your child is being mistreated. Make sure that you listen toand documenteverything your child says. However, be very careful about questioning your child about the abuse. Because children are vulnerable to suggestive questions, the answers they give may be considered less credible. If you think your child has been neglected or abused, or if your child has told you they’ve been neglected or abused, the best thing you can do is take them to counselling. A counselor specializing in child abuse and neglect can help file a report to Child Protection Services. And, as a neutral party, the counselor can represent the child’s interests in any subsequent court cases.

When You Need Help Protecting Your Family:

If you believe your child is being abused or neglected, you need an attorney with specialized experience working with child maltreatment. At CoilLaw, we are committed to advocating for the rights of all of our clients. If you have concerns about your child’s safety, CoilLaw is just a phone call away. Contact us to find out how we can help you protect your family.


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