Proving she actually spends child support on the children

mens divorce lawyer William BackerQuestion:

I’m convinced my ex is only using her child support payments to fund her lavish lifestyle. She only works a part-time job yet she drives a nice car, wears expensive jewelry and takes multiple cruises a year.

Is there a way to force her to account for what she does with the child support payments and file it with the court?


In the state I practice in (Missouri), the law does have a provision which would allow the parent that is obligated to pay child support payments to file a petition with the court to order the custodial parent to provide a regular summary of expenses paid by the custodial parent on behalf of the child. The law requires that the parent seeking the order must allege and show good cause in order to obtain such an order.

The issue is whether your situation would give the court “good cause” to require the custodial parent to provide a summary of expenses.

Surprisingly, there is very little authority which even refers to Missouri’s accounting statute. Case law from other states on similar statutes have found that accountings should not be ordered unless there is overwhelming evidence that the custodial parent is not using the payments for the child.

“Good cause” to support a request for an accounting would certainly be present in a case where the child support payments are made regularly and the child’s basic needs are not being met. It is likely that courts are going to be reluctant to require an accounting without such a showing.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers in 18 states.


William F. Backer is an Associate Attorney in the Arnold, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where he practices domestic relations exclusively. Mr. Backer is licensed in the State of Missouri. Mr. Backer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Accounting, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1999.

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