The family law court has just issued a judgment on how much child support you will receive, and you are looking forward to your first payment. It can be difficult and expensive to raise children as a single parent, and you need all the help you can get. However, you worry that you might need to keep track of your child support expenses, especially since your ex has been telling you to save your receipts. Does the Illinois family law system monitor your child support spending? Can your ex have a say in how you spend the money?

Fortunately, this scenario is very unlikely to happen, as FindLaw explains. As the custodial parent, your children’s physical and emotional well-being is primarily your responsibility. Child support should help you achieve this goal, but you can decide how best to use the funds for your children’s benefit. For example, you might spend child support on basic needs for your kids, such as the following:

  • Food and clothing
  • School supplies and tutoring
  • Hygiene items and household necessities
  • Rent and utility payments
  • Medication and doctor co-pays

You may also decide to save a portion of your child support for an emergency or for your children’s college tuition. What about nonessentials? Many parents who receive child support struggle to give their children happy memories. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is considered acceptable to use child support for such “unnecessary” items as Christmas and birthday gifts for your kids, movie tickets, restaurant meals and trips, provided your children are the focus of the expenditures.

As for providing receipts to your ex, you should know that you do not have to tell the other parent how you spend child support, and he or she does not have the right to direct your spending. Those who have questions about child support spending can choose to seek experienced counsel.

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