Considering All the Expenses of Raising a Child
Illinois Custody Lawyers Help Determine Support
It comes as no surprise that raising a child is expensive. In Illinois,
both parents are legally required to contribute to costs. For divorced
and single parents, this involves child support. In order to calculate
child support orders, courts use various factors, including each parent's income, the needs
of the child, and how much time the child spends with each parent.
Courts use child support guidelines to determine the support amount. Parents
may agree to child support on their own and submit their agreement for
court approval. Child support guidelines aim to have each parent contribute
to the child's expenses so that the child can maintain the standard
of living he or she would have if the parents lived together.
Child support should be enough to cover basic costs like:
- Mandatory expenses
- Discretionary expenses
Mandatory Add-On Expenses
In Illinois, a judge will take mandatory add-ons into consideration to
determine the support amount. Add-ons include childcare and uninsured
medical care expenses. By default, these expenses are split evenly, although
a judge may require one parent to pay more than 50% if circumstances make
it appropriate. Generally this occurs when one parent has a greater amount
of disposable income than the other.
Costs of childcare must be in relation to employment or education for employment.
If both parents work childcare will be factored into the child support order.
If the court deems it appropriate, a judge may also add on child support
costs for the child's education or special needs expenses. For example,
if a child needs tutoring, the non-custodial parent may have to pay for
part of the expense.
Child support also may or may not include school fees, entertainment, and
travel expenses, among others. Child support for travel is often included
if one parent lives far away from the child.
If the child participated in extracurricular activities before a split,
the noncustodial parent may also be required to pay for those activities.
Music lessons, sports equipment, and even entertainment expenses can be
included in a child support order.
Child Support Modification
The custodial parent does not have to give the court or the non-custodial
parent a line-by-line accounting of how he or she uses the child support.
This can lead to gray areas for what the child support award covers. In
addition, life events such as a job loss or medical condition can make
a child support order unworkable. A parent can ask the court to modify
a child support order, but until it is modified a parent owes the same amount.
Parents with questions regarding child support or seeking to modify a child
contact an experienced family law attorney in Illinois to discuss their options. Wakenight & Associates, P.C.
have offices in Oak Park, Mokena, Joliet, Aurora, Elmhurst,
Burr Ridge, St. Charles, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and Chicago
Loop to assist you.
Call our family law attorneys in:
- Cook or Lake Counties: (888) 351-2843
- DuPage, Kane, or Kendall Counties: (888) 339-4162
- Will, Kankakee, Grundy, or South Cook Counties: (888) 303-1846