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How are custodial parents supposed to use child support?

The topic of using child support funds causes a great amount of conflict in divorcing or divorced Illinois parents. The person who pays child support often has one idea of what the money is for while the custodial parent may have another idea entirely. Who is right and who is wrong in these conflicts? The answer is somewhat complicated.

All children deserve to receive love and care from both of their parents. In most cases, it is relatively easy to lavish love and attention on your child after divorce, but providing financial support can be a challenge in today's economy. Despite the financial hardships, covering the expenses necessary to raise children is a parent's responsibility, and it is also the source of parental conflict after divorce.

Child support can cover numerous expenses. In families with high assets, the court may include extra expenses in a child support order. Examples include entertainment costs, college tuition or expenses and extracurricular activities. However, most divorcing couples do not have great wealth to spend on the care and upbringing of their kids. When represented by an attorney, even parents with moderate means can make sure the divorce agreement includes enough child support to cover at least the basic necessities in the following list.

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Mortgage payments
  • Utility payments
  • School supplies
  • Health care

In short, child support is meant to pay for whatever the child needs to live as normal and healthy a life as possible.

For noncustodial parents who believe their co-parents are misusing these funds, a family law attorney can provide guidance. Custodial parents may also benefit from attorney guidance, especially if they are not receiving enough money to support their children. In all cases, the court may award a post-divorce modification to the child support order if the needs of the children are not being met.

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