IL family lawyerIllinois courts believe that children have a right to receive financial support from both of their parents- even if those parents are unmarried or divorced. Child support payments can help parents share child-related costs such as tuition, childcare, extracurricular fees, basic necessities, and medical care. While the costs of feeding and clothing your child will likely stay relatively stable throughout his or her childhood, medical expenses can quickly add up to excessive amounts – especially if your child requires ongoing or specialized medical care. Read on to learn about how medical costs are handled under Illinois child support laws.

Special Needs and Extraordinary Medical Costs

Typically, when parents receive a child support order from the court, the order will dictate how routine medical care such as yearly physicals, dental cleanings, and doctor’s visits for minor medical issues are handled. “Extraordinary” medical expenses include out-of-pocket or uninsured medical costs like co-pays, deductibles, or costs associated with major medical interventions like surgery. These costs may not be covered by the child support order you originally received from the court.

If your child has a medical condition that requires medical care above and beyond what is accounted for in your current child support order, you have a few options. One option is to revisit your child support order through a child support modification. Illinois law states that parents are permitted to request a child support modification when there is a major change in either the child’s needs or the parents’ income.

If you are overwhelmed by child-related medical costs, you may be able to request that these additional expenses are included in your child support order. A judge may also require parents to pay medical costs in addition to the child support order. For example, if your child requires treatment for cancer, the judge may require parents to share this cost in addition to the existing child support order. Generally, the court divides extraordinary medical costs between parents proportionately and based on each parent’s income.

Contact a St. Charles Child Support Lawyer

When a child’s financial needs increase dramatically due to a medical condition, managing child support can become very complicated. For sound legal guidance regarding child support modifications and other family law matters, contact an accomplished Kane County family law attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. We can help you explore your options and decide on a course of action which is in your child’s best interests. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.

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IL family lawyerIn 2017, Illinois lawmakers changed the way family courts determine child support payments. These changes followed some other significant modifications to the state's laws which redefined child custody and visitation as the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time. Divorcing parents should be sure to understand their child support obligations and the methods used to determine the amount of child support payments.

Parents’ Combined Income

Before the change in the law, child support payments were determined using a fairly simple calculation that was based on a fixed percentage of the income earned by the non-custodial parent. Under the new laws, child support payments are calculated based on the combined income of both parents. The courts will determine a child support obligation based on what a married couple who earns that combined income would typically spend to care for their child or children. Each parent will be responsible for a certain portion of that obligation based on their percentage of the combined income.

Parenting Time

In many cases, the majority of parenting time will be awarded to one parent and the other will need to make child support payments. If parenting time is split equally, or nearly so, then child support payments are not only based on the income of each parent but also the expenses of each parent in supporting the child. For example, only one parent may pay health insurance premiums. When the income and expenses of each parent are compared when they are both awarded equal parenting time, one parent may be obligated to make child support payments to the other.

Parental Responsibility

There can be many expenses when raising a child which is why it has been reported that it can cost upwards of $230,000 to provide for a child and nurture them to the age of 18. Just some of these expenses that are a large part of parental responsibility include:

  • Health insurance
  • Childcare
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs
  • School expenses such as uniforms, shoes, fees for trips, etc.

Some parents, depending on their income, are also required to pay some or all of their child’s college costs. These are calculated based on the income of the parents so long as the child is still considered dependent, which is usually until the age of 24. If a student can prove they support themselves independently of their parents, a waiver may be approved. The cost of school or schools the student is applying to is also considered.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorces in which children are involved require legal assistance in a different sense than other divorce cases. Most parents do not come to a custody decision without some disagreements. It is uncommon for both parents to share equal custody of their children. One parent is named the “custodial parent” since the child lives primarily under their roof. The other parent is known as the “non-custodial parent”. The non-custodial parent does not pay for things such as groceries, clothes, or the gas needed to drive the child around every day, they are often required to provide the custodial parent with a set amount of money on a monthly basis in order to compensate for these expenses. These payment amounts are determined by a variety of factors. These include income, bonuses, properties owned, and other forms of financial value owned by both parents. Continue reading to learn how child support payments are regulated based on each individual’s situation.

Unique Solutions to Difficult Situations

Most parents do not have the “American dream job” that pays six figures and has them working 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. In reality, Americans work a variety of different jobs resulting in numerous “gray areas” for child support payments. Some individuals have the child support payments deducted from their paycheck by their employer to avoid missed payments while others place the responsibility on their own shoulders on a month to month basis. Regardless of the method used, these payments are due monthly and legal action can be taken against anyone who withholds these funds. For those purposely withholding child support payments, their wages can be garnished. This means that the amount will be forcibly removed from their paycheck before the parent receives it, taking away their ability to miss or avoid payments.

Some employers have refused to withhold the child support amount from paychecks despite being ordered to by a court or requested by an employee. While this is not always the case, it is not uncommon. Under every state’s law, an employer must withhold the amount if ordered or requested to do so. If this is the case, the employer will receive a withholding notice notifying them of their obligation. If the employer still refuses to do so, they will be charged the amount personally.

Child support payments can be increasingly difficult for parents that have recently lost their job. While this situation may not be the fault of the unemployed parent, the finances are still owed each month. The best solution in cases like these is a request for a payment adjustment. Because child support payments are determined based on a parent’s income and financial state, it can be adjusted if the parent cannot afford to pay the original allotted amount. If this request is made, a court may require the individual to seek out an employment program to help truncate the amount of time spent paying a lower amount.

For those that are self-employed, regulating income is still possible. This will be done through the Internal Revenue Service. While it may not be possible to withhold income through their employer, there are other forms of withholding that exist. Liens are holds on property until the amount owed is paid. This can include revoking required licenses, securing liens on client payments or garnishing the parent’s bank account.

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IL divorce lawyerFor those who have children and choose to get divorced, child support payments are inevitable. The parent who holds primary custody will often receive the child support payments since they spend the most time, and thus the most money, with the child. These payments are no longer percentage based. The court determines the amount of money needed to care for the child based on his/her parents’ income then divides this amount between the parents. The details of these payments are determined before the divorce papers can be made official; however, certain situations and life-altering events can result in necessary changes being made.

Recent Unemployment

Unemployment does not result in the ending of child support payments. The payments will simply no longer be taken out of your paycheck. If approved for unemployment benefits, the parent should then contact the unemployment office regarding their mandatory child support payments. These payments will then be deducted from their unemployment benefit wages.

Incarceration

If a parent becomes imprisoned and is required to pay child support, the parent can petition for his/her payments to be altered. Some courts will allow for the payments to be reduced or suspended while the parent is in prison. This is not always a guarantee. Often times, the judge will decide that the payments must continue to be paid throughout the parent’s sentence.

Death of a Non-Custodial Parent

The death of a non-custodial parent can cause extreme stress for a parent relying on this extra income to raise their child. There are multiple solutions that can be considered. If the deceased parent has a life insurance policy with the child as the beneficiary, the parent can begin collecting this money for the child immediately. Depending on the deceased parent’s previous employment, the child may also be subject to benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Death of a Custodial Parent

After deciding who will take primary care of the child, the payments will be determined. Payments from the parent's estate or a child support modification may be made if the other parent receives full-custody. If the child is placed into the hands of another relative, the payments should remain similar to their previous amount.

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Illinois divorce lawyerYou cannot separate education from a child’s life. Think it like trying to extract a career from an adult’s lifestyle and perception his or her role in society. When you first meet somebody, one of the first questions you ask is “what do you do?” For a child, school is what he or she “does.” Because of this, a child’s academic needs are considered heavily when the court develops an appropriate parenting plan for him or her. And although child support orders are created using a formula, special academic needs can force the court to deviate from this formula.

Child Support can be Used to Cover School Expenses

For most children, school expenses include:

  • School supplies;
  • School clothing; and
  • Occasionally, field trips and other special events.

In some cases, a child needs far more support for his or her education. This can be the case when a child attends private school and needs parental support for tuition and uniforms of when the child has a severe mental or physical disability that requires him or her to attend a specialized school.

Your Child’s Academic Needs Are Considered when Your Parenting Plan Is Developed

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