IL family lawyerChild support costs can be expensive, and the paying parent may understandably be reluctant to hand over money for expenses they view as extra or unnecessary. Often, the paying parent feels as though their money is being used for other purposes than supporting the child. However, if the court considers an expense necessary, even if it is above and beyond monthly child support payments, you may be required to pay your portion.

What Are Some Common Extra Expenses?

  • Child Care – For children who are not old enough to attend school, a working parent with parental responsibilities will need to consider daycare, preschool, or private childcare. Child care may also include expenses related to before- and after-school care or summer camps. Courts require expenses to be reasonable and will consider the ability of each parent to pay in proportion to their income.
  • Extracurricular and Educational Activities – Children are often involved in sports teams, dance classes, music lessons, and other activities that can be very costly. Even if a child is in public school, there are usually costs for books, lunch, testing, and college-credit classes. Courts can require parents to contribute to reasonable expenses related to school and extracurricular activities beyond the monthly cost of child support.
  • Medical Expenses - Even when a child is on their parent’s insurance plan, and even if the plan has great coverage, chances are that eventually there will be uncovered medical expenses. These might come in the form of an expensive prescription, treatment by an orthodontist, or a new pair of glasses. Whatever the cost, a court can order a parent to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses.

How Will We Split the Cost?

Illinois courts try to arrange for equitable payment, so every situation is going to be different. Sometimes courts split extra costs 50/50, sometimes they are split 80/20; it depends on the ability of each parent to pay, any former obligations they may have, and any provisions set forth in the divorce decree.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois Child Support law can be complex. The consequences for misunderstanding your obligation or failing to pay can be expensive and might even include criminal charges. Hiring a Wheaton, IL child support attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group may help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure you are meeting your obligations. Call us today for a free consultation at 630-871-1002.

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DuPage County child support attorneyOnce an Illinois divorce decree is final, child support payments become a legally binding obligation. In addition to the devastating consequences a lack of timely payments can have on a family’s financial needs, there are serious legal consequences for failing to pay child support. Spouses cannot simply agree to re-negotiate child support themselves; any modifications to child support must be made by a court order.

The paying parent may fall behind on child support payments because of a change in their financial situation, or because they simply stop paying. Regardless of the reason, recovering unpaid child support can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Fortunately, there is legal recourse available for parents who need to recover past child support payments.

Legal Consequences

The State of Illinois takes the welfare of children very seriously. There is a specific law, called the Non-Support Punishment Act, that lists several behaviors for which a non-paying parent may face criminal charges. According to this law, a person can be held accountable for failure to support if he or she has the ability to provide the support and does one of the following:

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Wheaton child support lawyer for college expensesIn almost every situation in which a child’s parents are separated, both parents are obligated to contribute financially to the child’s regular needs through child support. This includes expenses related to the child’s K-12 education, but it does not necessarily include expenses related to college or post-secondary education. For this reason, Illinois has special provisions in place that may require both parents to contribute to their children’s higher education even after they have reached the age of 18. As a parent, it is important to be aware of what you might be required to pay.

Calculating College Expenses in Illinois

In most cases, tuition and housing are the largest expenses associated with a college education. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of tuition and fees in the 2019-2020 academic year was $10,116 for in-state students and $22,577 for out-of-state students at public schools, and $36,801 for students at private schools. The cost of room and board varies significantly depending on the college or university, but average costs in recent years come in at around $10,000 annually.

When ordering separated parents to contribute to college expenses, Illinois tries to keep costs manageable by requiring parents to pay, at most, the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board for an in-state student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the 2020-2021 school year at the University of Illinois, tuition and fees are estimated to be between $17,000 and $22,000, and room and board is estimated at around $12,000. Actual expenses for parents could be less if their children are attending a school or educational program with lower costs.

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DuPage County child support attorneyWhile it might be easy to assume that fathers usually end up being the ones paying child support after divorce, the truth these days is much more complicated than that. Although prior views of fathers being the primary breadwinners and mothers being the primary caregivers in the family dynamic were true for many years, this has become less and less common in this day and age. A look at the latest information proves that the times are certainly changing—as are the trends in child support and spousal support.

Latest Developments in Child and Spousal Support Defy Stereotypes

In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that all alimony must be viewed as gender-neutral. This opened the door to men not always having to be the ones who are financially responsible for spousal maintenance payments after divorce. Since then, the latest developments in child support and spousal support payments alike have progressed in a way that defies stereotypes. For example:

  • The latest trends suggest that more and more women are paying some sort of support to men after divorce. Whether it is child support or spousal maintenance—or both—there has been an uptick in women paying money to their ex-husbands, as reported by many divorce attorneys over the last few years. This is representative of an overall shift in the economy, as not only are both men and women working full time despite being married and having kids, but in some cases, women are even becoming the primary breadwinners. In fact, Pew Research has found that mothers are the primary income earners in four out of 10 families in the United States.
  • As more women pay child support or spousal maintenance, more data is coming in to suggest that men are more likely to fulfill their financial obligations after divorces than women. Within the last decade, some data suggests that while about a quarter of all men failed to make their child support payments, close to 10% more women failed to make those same payments. In other words, the common stereotype of “deadbeat dads” is not always the case.

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DuPage County child support modification attorneyAfter you have gone through a divorce and are paying or receiving child support, there may come a time when you believe the amount you pay or the child receives should be adjusted. In Illinois, this may be done through a modification review process.

When Can I Have My Child Support Order Modified?

Under Illinois family law, an order for child support is eligible for modification review every three years, or when there is a significant change in either parent’s income or in the needs of the child. In the case of a three-year review, a parent will receive a letter from the agency in charge, informing them of the right to request a review.

Who Conducts the Modification Review?

Modification reviews of child support orders in Illinois are done by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The agency is tasked with the responsibility to make sure child support orders are consistent with applicable Illinois law and changed circumstances involving all concerned.

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