How to Prevent Your Ex from Living Off Your Child Support Payments

By law, non-custodial parents have little say in how their ex spends their child support payments, but there are some strategies you can use to try to ensure that your money is used for the kids.


  • Step 1: Use good communication skills with your ex in all areas. Make every effort to stay calm and reasonable at all times, so you'll be less likely to get shut out by the ex or cut off from the kids.
  • TIP: Courts usually side with the custodial parents. Consider suing for custody.
  • Step 2: Hire a mediator to help peacefully resolve your issues if your ex will agree to it.
  • Step 3: Try to let go of your anger for the sake of your children if you are not successful at preventing misuse of your money. Instead, focus on providing a secure and nurturing environment for your children when they are under your care.
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  • Step 4: Take a deep breath and state your concerns to your ex calmly and only once the next time they jet off for a luxury European vacation while saying they can't afford a math tutor for your child.
  • TIP: You are most likely to succeed at changing the terms of your support agreement if there has been a material and permanent change in your salary or employment status that affects your ability to pay.
  • TIP: In some states, a parent paying child support may request an accounting through the family court of how their ex-spouse spends their money. However, such requests are usually only granted when the child's basic needs are not being met.
  • Step 5: Get advice from a lawyer or contact child services if you have evidence that the child is being denied the basic necessities such as shelter, food, or clothing.
  • Step 6: Review your divorce agreement if your ex is asking for money for extracurricular activities for the children. Non-custodial parents are often required to contribute extra for such expenses.
  • Step 7: Seek legal advice on reopening your court case. If possible, have the agreement revised to make most of your payments put directly toward expenses for the child, such as daycare or school.
  • Step 8: Research the laws in your state. In many states, there is little to be done if you suspect your ex-wife, husband, or partner of misusing child support payments.

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