While most of you expect our Salt Lake City child support attorney to say that it is illegal for the custodial parents to use child support money on themselves, you will be surprised by the answer.
In fact, whether or not it is legal to spend child support money on anything other than the child depends on the circumstances in your particular case. In Utah, the question of whether the custodial parent can use child support money on herself or himself is not clear.
However, there have been cases that might give you some guidance on whether or not custodial parents are allowed to spend child support payments on themselves.
Child support modification because of misuse of funds
When researching the topic of legality of custodial parents spending child support money on their own needs, our experienced child support attorney in Salt Lake City Emy A. Cordano found a case in which a man was allowed to modify the child support agreement and reduce the amount of these payments because of his ex-wife’s misuse of funds intended for the support and maintenance of their child.
More often than not, they pay or parents will not be able to get compensation retroactively (meaning: get compensated for past misuse of funds intended for child support). Rather, modification of child support payments applies to future payments.
Stopping child support payments because of misuse
However, with a Salt Lake City child support attorney by your side, it may be possible to reduce the previously awarded alimony by the amount of the misuse. Also, if your lawyer can demonstrate sufficient evidence proving the act of misuse, it may be possible to stop child support payments and/or allow the payor parent to pay directly for some or all of the child’s expenses.
Typically, courts grant modifications of child support payments upon a showing of “substantial change of circumstances.” If you believe that your ex-spouse is misusing the child support money and spending it on herself or himself, you may be able to get the court to order the recipient of child support to provide an accounting. In Utah, there is a statute that allows courts to order parents who receive child support payments to provide an accounting to ensure that the way the parent spends the money benefits the child.
How to petition for child support modification if the custodial parent is misusing money
Typically, to get the court to order the recipient to provide an accounting and receipts, the payor must petition the court or administration agency that issued the original or modified child support order.
The court or appropriate agency will then order the frequency and the form of the accounting, which usually includes providing accounting and receipts to monitor how child support payments are being spent by the custodial parent receiving these payments.
In some states, repeated misuse of child support money can rise to a “substantial change of circumstances,” the legally required factor to justify modification of the existing child support and child custody order.
If you have a reason to believe that the recipient of child support money misuses the funds and spends it on herself or himself, consult with our divorce lawyer in Utah Emy A. Cordano. Call our offices at 801-804-5152 today.