Raising a child is expensive. According to data provided by Chalkbeat, the average cost of center-based child care in Illinois now exceeds $13,000 per year – making it one of the most expensive states for parents in the entire county. If your child has unique medical or educational needs, the costs will only go up from there. This raises an important question: How does child support account for additional child care, educational and medical expenses in Illinois?
What are ‘Additional’ Expenses?
The purpose of child support is to ensure each parent makes financial contributions to help cover a child’s necessities. The Illinois child support guidelines are designed to do this in a fair and equitable manner. Of course, some children cost more to raise than others. A child may incur “additional” expenses necessary for their health, well-being, or overall social development. Illinois courts can require both parents to contribute to covering these add-on expenses. Some of the most common examples of additional expenses include:
1. Childcare costs;
2. Educational expenses, potentially including extracurricular activities; and
3. Unreimbursed medical expenses.
Every Case is Different – Specific Circumstances Must Be Considered
Whether or not a non-custodial parent can be ordered to contribute to “additional” child-related expenses will always depend on the unique nature of the case. There are two important questions that must be considered:
1. How necessary is the additional expense? Not all additional expenses are created equal. Emergency medical expenses are unquestionably necessary. In contrast, a costly extracurricular activity may not be. The more “necessary” an expense is deemed, the more likely it is to be the joint responsibility of both the custodial and non-custodial parent.
2. Does the non-custodial parent have financial means to pay? The financial means of each parent is a relevant issue in virtually all child support cases. In determining how much a non-custodial parent should contribute to additional expenses, an Illinois court can consider their income, assets and any other factor deemed appropriate. The greater the financial means of the non-custodial parent, the more likely they will be required to contribute to covering additional expenses.
Generally, parents will split the cost of additional child-related expenses in proportion to their ability to pay. Of course, there is considerable room for dispute regarding which expenses are necessary and the actual financial capacity of each parent. If you have specific questions about child support and additional expenses, contact an experienced Illinois family lawyer for immediate assistance.
Speak to Our Illinois Child Support Attorneys Today
At Keller Legal Services, our top-rated Illinois child support lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle complex cases, including disputes over additional expenses. To set up a free, strictly confidential consultation with an experienced child support lawyer, please contact us today. From our office locations in Naperville, Aurora and Bolingbrook, we represent parents throughout Northern Illinois, including in Downers Grove, Schaumburg, Oak Park and Arlington Heights.