There are many different reasons that a child may require additional financial support from a parent. If a child’s parents were not married or together when the child was born, child support helps distribute the child’s expenses between both parents. This helps safeguard against one parent being saddled with the entirety of the financial burden associated with raising a child.
Child support also acts as a way of holding parents’ accountable for paying their fair share of costs like tuition, child care, housing, food, clothing, and others. The courts can help parents reach a child support arrangement which is reasonable and fair for both parents. The court also has the authority to intervene when a parent is not living up to the agreed upon child support commitment.
Some unmarried parents try to arrange an informal child support plan. They exchange money intended to help support the child outside of the rules and regulations of the courts. Unfortunately, this often results in unreliable child support payments, support nonpayment, ineffective parent-to-parent communication, and a generous amount of stress for everyone involved.
Avoiding the Formal Court System Can Result in Uncertainty and Vulnerability for Both Parties
Going to court can be a tedious task. It understandable that many parents look for ways to pay child support without getting a court-mandated child support order. However, parents who simply hand the other parent a check or envelope of money put themselves at risk in several ways. Firstly, if you are making payments to your child’s other parent outside of a court order, there is no way to legally prove these payments were made. Even if you are using a check or money order which leaves a paper trail, these payments cannot be considered child support in the future. In the future, this parent could take you to court alleging that you are not supporting your child. The parent can claim that the payments were made for another reason unrelated to the child’s expenses.
Informal Child Support Payments Can Be Ambiguous
Another concern for parents making child support payments outside of the system is that the recipient can begin to demand more and more money. Some parents tragically use their children as pawns in order to get what they want. If you have been casually giving the other parent money and he or she claims to now need twice as much money for some new child-related expense, there is no way for you to verify this. Alternatively, child support arrangements made through the court can only be changed if a verified significant life event necessitates it.
Let Us Help
At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we provide experienced, dependable legal counsel regarding child support and child custody, spousal support (alimony), fathers’ rights, and more. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Illinois family law attorneys call 630-871-1002 today.