Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

What Expenses Does Child Support Cover in an Illinois Family Law Case?

 Posted on January 31, 2022 in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1828226513.jpgThere are a variety of situations where parents may need to address legal issues related to their children. These cases will often involve the end of a relationship between parents, including when a married couple chooses to divorce or when unmarried parents break up. To ensure that children will have the necessary financial resources, child support will usually be ordered in these cases. While one parent will generally be expected to pay child support to the other, parents will need to understand how the amount of payments will be determined and the types of expenses that child support will address.

Basic Child Support Obligations and Additional Expenses

While parents may expect that one party will pay child support, they may not fully understand how Illinois law determines child support obligations. In most cases, the “non-custodial” parent will be expected to pay support to the parent who will have primary custody of the couple’s children. However, when child support obligations are determined based on the guidelines in Illinois law, both parents’ incomes will be considered, and the amount of parenting time that each parent has with their children may also be a factor that will play a role in the calculation of child support.

When creating a child support order, a “basic support obligation” will be determined, and this amount represents what the parents would have been expected to put toward providing for their children’s needs if they had not ended their relationship. Each parent will be responsible for a percentage of the basic support obligation, with these percentages being based on the proportions of each parent’s income and the combined income earned by both parties.

The basic support obligation is meant to go toward children’s ongoing, daily needs, including housing, nutrition, and clothing. However, there are multiple other types of expenses that parents may need to address. A child support order may state that parents will need to divide expenses related to:

  • Childcare - Depending on when the parents work, the ages of the children, and the availability of help from family members, neighbors, or others, children may need to attend daycare while parents are working, or other forms of childcare may be provided. Parents will generally be required to divide the costs of any childcare that is needed due to the parents’ employment.

  • Healthcare - To ensure that children will be able to receive medical care when necessary, parents will usually be required to maintain health insurance coverage for them. While children may be included on either parent’s health plan, the parents will usually divide the monthly premiums required to maintain coverage, as well as any other costs related to the medical treatment children receive.

  • Activities - When children participate in activities such as sports, scouting, gymnastics, or music lessons, parents may divide the fees and expenses that will need to be paid. A child support order may state that parents will pay up to a certain amount each year for expenses related to extracurricular activities.




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