Do I Need to Pay Child Support if My Ex is Wasting Money?
In many cases, the end of a relationship can fill you with disappointment, anger and disbelief. Issues around trust and dependability are raised, with future decision-making by the ex-spouse often seeming flawed and below par.
For the kids
Of all the things that come out of a relationship, most adults would agree that any children arising from the match are simply priceless. But seeing the way that your ex makes decisions in relation to things such as finances, relationships, work, and the kids can sometimes leave you feeling hugely disappointed.
In these situations, the disappointment can be doubled if you are required to pay child support. Many payers of child support feel let down when they work hard to make the payments – yet are gutted by the ex’s spending habits.
It might lead you to ask: “Should I keep paying my child support when my ex-partner is wasting the money on worthless things?”
It’s a deceptively simple question. Here are some things to keep in mind when grappling with an ex who seems to be mishandling your hard-earned child support money.
Back to basics
If you are querying your child support usage, then you probably already have some idea of the family law system. The basic idea when it comes to kids is that the ‘best interests of the child’ should be kept front-and-centre whenever relevant decisions are made. This extends to questions such as housing, contact, finances, and day-to-day activities.
Under Child Support legislation, non-resident parents are generally required to pay an amount towards the care of any children. As most separated parents know, private agreements can be made, or you can choose to organise calculations and collection through the Child Support Agency.
If I don’t pay..?
Some paying parents can’t contribute much financially because of their current situation. But others sometimes decide to stop paying because of other reasons. They may have strong opinions about the other parent, or feel that the money is just not worth paying.
Be careful with this approach. The child support system has strong financial disincentives for those who might simply decide to stop paying.
Tax refunds can be stopped and debts can be enforced by well-developed government processes. At the very least, legal advice should be sought before you consider stopping child support payments.
Payment, spending and other choices
You might have very real concerns about how your ex-spouse is spending money. Of course you probably don’t know the full story of how they have arranged post-separation details. But still! You’re seeing fancy clothes and shoes and hearing stories of wild adventures…etc.
This can be a difficult and annoying time for paying parents. Particularly if the kids just appear to have the basics in terms of clothes, shoes and food. Yet for better or worse, a paying parent generally won’t be able to change the way in which the resident parent spends their money.
Of course if you have well-founded concerns about insufficient food, clothes and other items of basic welfare, obtain advice about the best way to go about assisting your kids.
Remembering the future
It is almost a cliché to say that emotions are tested post-separation. By ‘remembering the future’, we mean keeping the kids’ future in mind whenever you go to make a big decision. Stopping your child support payments because of the waste that you see might be one of those decisions that won’t be viewed well into the future.
You have every right to care about your children and question their welfare. But for up-to-date information on child support obligations, seek unbiased and professional advice from an expert.