What To Do If Your Ex Returns Your Child Support

Posted on: 21 September 2018

You might think that a custodial spouse would want as much money as he or she could get for child support. However, sometimes an ex-spouse wants nothing to do with the other ex-spouse, to the point of returning any child support money in an attempt to cut off contact. Your instinct might be to just stop sending child support, but do not do that. If your ex returns your child support funds, you have a major problem on your hands.

This Actually Isn't Good

The child support money does not actually belong to your ex. That money is meant for the child's care with the ex as the person tasked with carrying out that care. If your ex returns the child support money, he or she is not only essentially stealing from the child, but you may get in trouble as well if the money isn't noted or logged as needed. The court has ways of recording the support, and you need to be sure that you're not getting docked for non-payment just because your ex wants you gone. In some states, non-payment of child support can lead to jail time or revocation of professional licenses, so you don't want to suffer because of your ex's whims.

Contact Your Lawyer Immediately

You need to contact your lawyer immediately if these refusals begin. Your lawyer can contact the court to alert the judge regarding the refusals. The judge could insist the ex take the money, or the judge could set up an alternate plan for the money. You are likely not going to be able to keep the money, however. Whatever the outcome, you need to be sure that the court records you as faithfully paying according to the child support agreement.

Set the Money Aside Anyway

As you wait for the situation to settle down:

  1. Send the money anyway unless the court has instructed you to hold off temporarily.
  2. Place the money that gets returned in a separate savings account that is for child support only.
  3. Discuss with your lawyer and the court options like placing the money in a trust or future college fund, assuming the court does not force the ex to take the money.
  4. Double-check with the court what to do with returned money if the court does say the ex must accept the money, but he or she sends it back anyway.

If your original divorce lawyer tells you not to worry about the situation and just hang onto the money, you must find a child support attorney who can contact the court on your behalf. You may need to alert the court to a change in legal representation, too. Courts have information and help lines that can guide you through this process.


answers to legal questions about child custody

Child custody cases are difficult for the families, the lawyers and judges involved. Finding the best solution to a difficult problem while protecting the kids from as much emotional distress as possible isn't something that anyone ever wants to be a part of. Unfortunately, many marriages end badly and the parents have to come up with a custody plan that will be most efficient for the kids and the rest of the family. My blog is all about the legal aspects of child custody cases. You will find the answers to many of the questions that you have about the most difficult thing you will ever have to go through.