Can I reclaim child support payments that went unused?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

My husband pays his ex-wife for child support and other costs each month via check. She won’t give him her banking information so he could set up a direct deposit. She hasn’t cashed a single check in 10 months!

If she doesn’t want/need the money, can we reclaim it and put it into a savings account for the kids?



First let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of California, so I am unable to provide you with any specific advice to your questions, since I am unfamiliar with California law and the facts of your case.

Your situation is highly unusual because the mother of the child is not using the child support at all. You should speak to an attorney in California with regard to any ability to reclaim funds that are unused. I don’t know of any state that would allow a parent to do that.

In addition, some of the older checks may have expired because usually a check should be cashed in ninety (90) days or it is void. You may want to speak to an attorney and ask the Court to either set up a direct deposit or to see if you can directly deposit that amount into an account for the children.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kent., office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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