Justifying the Use of Child Support Payments

Some parents who are ordered to pay child support do not do so willingly. While it is generally understood that child support is ordered in order to assist with providing for the child, some parents feel as though the other parent should not get to decide how that money is used. This can sometimes cause friction, and the parent who is ordered to pay child support can decide not to pay child support in order to protest how the child support is spent.

Illinois courts decide which parent pays child support based on the statutory guidelines. Under previous Illinois law, the child support payments were calculated as a percentage of the paying parent’s applicable income. Under a law that took effect on July 1, 2017, child support payments in Illinois will be calculated as a percentage of the combined income of both parents, and will also take parenting time into consideration when deciding how much child support is to be ordered.

A parent cannot dictate how the other parent spends the child support payments the court has awarded. Whether the other parent uses the child support payments to pay for food, clothing, and shelter for the child, or to pay for vacations and other activities for the child, the parent who is ordered to pay child support has no right to request an accounting of how the money is spent.

Some parents decide that to make sure the money they pay is used only for the children’s needs, they will pay for the children’s clothing, shoes, diapers, and other such necessities directly, instead of giving the ordered sum of child support to the other parent. These direct purchases for the child are not a substitute for child support payments, and the other parent can still collect the full amount of child support owed, without any deduction for the direct purchases.

Once a parent is ordered to pay child support, the parent has to pay the ordered amount or be subject to collections procedures such as wage garnishment. In some cases, a parent who is delinquent on his or her child support payments can lose his or her driver’s license or passport. A non-paying parent can also be held in contempt and jailed for failing to pay an ordered amount. A parent can only have the child support reduced if he or she can show a material change in circumstances since the child support was ordered.

For parents receiving child support, if the court orders a portion of the child support to be used for a specific need, the parent should abide by this order. Failing to do so could lead to a reevaluation of the child support ordered.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you are a parent who has primary responsibility of your child, you can petition a court to award child support in order to help financially support your child. Child support is based on Illinois statutory law, and not on a determination of how a parent plans to use child support. Contact an experienced Naperville child support lawyer at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC for a consultation.


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