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Kane County Child Expenses Lawyer

Kane County Non-Standard Child Expenses Lawyers

Family Attorneys Explain Sharing of Healthcare, Daycare, School, and Extracurricular Expenses in Illinois

Two parents may have very different ideas of what is a "reasonable" expense where their children are concerned, and this can become an ongoing source of aggravation between co-parents. Some costs can be forecasted and incorporated into your child support court order, such as who pays for health insurance and daycare. Still, the costs of such programs can vary widely and become a point of contention between parents. You may also disagree on whether your children need costly extras such as horseback riding lessons or a pricey summer camp and who should pay for those extras.

The divorce lawyers of Weiler & Lengle P.C. have worked through these very issues with hundreds of clients, so you can rely on our considered legal opinion in these matters. As our practice is exclusively devoted to divorce and family law, we are continuously updating and expanding our insights on child support issues. The Illinois laws and administrative guidelines that govern child support have changed substantially in recent years, so it is more critical than ever for you to hire an attorney with this know-how.

Illinois Parents' Obligations Above and Beyond Basic Child Support

In accordance with Illinois divorce law 750 ILCS 5/505, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DFS) has standardized the calculation of the basic child support obligation, which is intended to cover food, clothing, shelter, transportation, ordinary entertainment and education costs, and similar day-to-day needs.

On top of the basic support obligation, you may also have to pay a share of other costs that can be incorporated into your child support order at the discretion of the court or by agreement of the parents. It is important for you to understand the full extent of your financial obligations, because failure to abide by the terms of a family court order can have serious consequences.

The attorneys of Weiler & Lengle P.C. can advise you, based on your unique financial and family circumstances, about your options for handling children's "non-basic" needs and discretionary expenses in your divorce settlement and the consequences of those choices.

Here are the main types of costs not covered by basic child support and ways these costs might be equitably shared:

Health insurance: The court has significant leeway in the matter of healthcare costs and insurance, per 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(4). As one example, the court could direct the parent with primary physical care (custody) to put the child on their health insurance plan and pay the premiums. As another option, if the insurance premiums are high, that amount could be added to the basic child support obligation and divided between the parents using the Income Shares method.

Healthcare costs not covered by insurance: The court has the discretion to order either or both parents to pay unreimbursed medical, dental, orthodontic, vision, and medication costs. As one example, the parent with primary physical care may be ordered to pay ordinary expenses like co-pays while extraordinary expenses would be shared.

Children with special needs: The court may deviate from the standard child support guidelines by altering the amount of the basic support obligation and ordering either or both parents to contribute toward the child's expenses after considering the financial resources and needs of both the child and each parent, under Illinois law 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.4).

Daycare, after-school care, and vacation care including summer camps: The court may order reasonable and necessary child care costs to be divided between the parents by the Income Shares method and added to the basic child support payments, per 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.7). Alternatively, the court has the discretion to order a different division of the costs and to have each parent pay their share directly to the child care provider. In this context, "reasonable and necessary expenses" are those that enable a parent to be employed or obtain an education to improve their employment opportunities.

School and extracurricular activities: The court may order either or both parents to pay reasonable school and extracurricular activity expenses, per 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.6). As with the basic support obligation, the definition of "reasonable" may vary in accordance with the parents' combined income.

The allocation of major decision-making responsibilities may factor into who pays for some of these expenses. Through either the agreement of the parents or decision of the court, the authority to make major decisions about a child's education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities may be assigned to one parent or shared equally by both parents. What if the parent with decision-making authority signs a child up for an extremely expensive activity? The courts have generally held that one parent cannot force the other parent to share in the cost of exorbitant discretionary expenditures.

Divorce and Child Support Lawyers in St. Charles, Illinois

You can count on the skilled divorce and family law attorneys of Weiler & Lengle P.C. to keep a watchful eye on all financial aspects of your divorce judgment. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-382-8050. We serve clients in Kane County including the communities of Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Pingree Grove, and St. Charles.

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