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Who Pays for Unforeseen Child Expenses in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on May 06, 2024 in Family Law

Geneva, IL child support lawyerWhen parents file for divorce in Illinois, the court wants to make sure that their children receive proper care. A judge will often order a parent to pay child support to cover the child’s basic needs, such as:

  • Basic healthcare

  • Education

  • Food and other living expenses

It is common, however, for other needs to arise that are not covered by child support. As children grow, their physical and developmental needs evolve. But since the law is not clear on who must pay for unforeseen child expenses, it is best to consult a child support attorney who knows how a court might view your case.

What Child Expenses Are Not Covered by Child Support?

A common example of unforeseen child expenses is when a child develops a disability or medical condition that requires extra care. Illinois law refers to this as a child care expense. A judge may order either parent or both parents to contribute towards child care, including:

  • Before- and after-school care

  • Extracurricular activities

  • Summer camps

Another common example of unexpected child expenses is when a child develops a talent or is considered gifted. A parent might want to send the child to specialized schools or programs that cost more money than a normal education. 

Who Has to Pay for These Expenses?

Illinois law does not say which parent must pay for child expenses that are outside the norm. If a parent wants to force the other to pay extra support, he or she needs to convince a court that it is necessary for the child’s well-being. But even if a court agrees that more financial support is needed, the judge will look at several factors before deciding who must contribute and how much. These factors include:

  • The cost of the care being requested

  • Which parent is paying child support

  • Which parent has the majority of parenting time, or physical custody

  • The income of each parent

  • The employment status of each parent

  • Whether either parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed

  • The potential income of any unemployed parent

Can the Payee Become the Payor?

It is important to note that circumstances may have changed since the original support order. The parent who has been paying the child support, called the payor, might be making significantly less money than during the divorce process. On the other hand, the economic status of the parent who has been receiving the child support — called the payee — may have improved. In this case, a judge might decide that the payee should be the payor for some expenses.

Contact a Geneva, IL Child Support Lawyer

 When a court makes a change to the original support order, it is called a post-decree modification. Post-decree modifications are complex legal maneuvers because courts are often reluctant to change the original decree, at least for a certain amount of time. That is why you want a skilled Kane County, Illinois child support attorney to help build your case. At Serrano Hanson, we are highly experienced in post-decree modifications and we know how a court will view your request. Contact us at 630-844-8781 to start building your case today.

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