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Uses, misuses of child support payments

43131649_S.jpgWhen Illinois parents divorce, the non-custodial parent usually must pay child support to the custodial parent. This money must be used for maintenance of the child or children. It should not be used for personal expenses of the custodial parent.

For example, child support can be used to pay rent, the mortgage or utilities, since the child clearly benefits from having a safe place to live. The money also could be used to pay a child's school expenses, including supplies and school clothes, as well as for any extracurricular expenses for activities the child is involved in. Child support also may be used to pay medical expenses, including vision and dental care. Food and toys are also reasonable child care expenses.

Child support should not be used to pay dining out expenses incurred by the custodial parent unless the children are included in the meal. Custodial parents also should not use the money for salon services for themselves, a vacation without the child, or to buy alcohol and tobacco products as these items do not benefit the child. Should there be any money left at the end of the month, it should be saved for future child expenses.

If non-custodial parents do not pay child support ordered by the court, penalties, including loss of driver's and professional licenses, may be levied. Conversely, if they suspect the child support payments are being improperly used by the custodial parent, they may wish to consult a family law attorney who may be able to assist in documenting the misused funds and present this information to the court for possible action. Both parents should always remember that the money is to be used in a manner that furthers the best interest of their children.

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