When two partners decide to end their long-term relationship, there is a possibility that things may get ugly. This is because spouses often face a perfect storm of stressful events including making new living arrangements and deciding about property and money.
However, the process can get even uglier when children are involved. One of the most overwhelming and difficult issues to tackle is determining child support. It is crucial that partners understand what the Illinois laws say about child support payments as well as how they are determined and how they should be handled by both parents.
One way of doing so is to hire an experienced attorney from a top family law firm in Illinois who can navigate you through the procedure and help you get through it with as little stress as possible.
In the meantime, keep reading to find out what child support covers if you are from the Prairie State.
Children need food, proper clothing and a safe and comfortable environment to live in. Therefore, one of the things that child support covers are the “normal” expenses associated with raising a child. These are often referred to as the basic child care expenses which include providing food, housing and clothing.
At a minimum, parents should use child support to purchase groceries, snacks, beverages and other food items for their children. They should also use the money to buy their little ones shoes, jackets and other appropriate clothing.
Lastly, child support should be used to pay for the child’s related shelter costs, including mortgage or rent, lighting, telephone and utility bills.
Children also need basic medical care. Therefore, the state of Illinois requires parents to carry some form of health insurance for their children to cover basic medical fees. Typically, the parent with better employee-covered benefits will be appointed to carry the medical, dental and vision insurance plan for their kids.
In addition to this, child support may also be used to cover uninsured or extraordinary medical expenses which exceed the cost of a basic health care insurance plan. This includes co-payments, deductibles and surgery costs as well as other expenses such as dental braces, casts, eyeglasses and other special health care costs, especially if the child has pre-existing medical needs.
Education is not free, so all expenses related to this matter are also covered by child support. Whether the kids are going to a public or private school, there are several fees and costs parents need to pay for, including school clothes or uniforms, tuition fees, textbooks and other school supplies, lunch money and private tutors.
In some instances, child support may be used to pay for the kids’ college expenses. The non-custodial parent should cover all college-related costs such as registration and application fees, transportation and living expenses, even after the children have reached the age of majority if they are attending full-time and haven’t graduated yet.
Entertainment and extracurricular activities
Many courts, including the court of Illinois, hold that children are entitled to basic entertainment including access to computers, TV programs, games and the Internet. This may also entail visits to a movie theater, amusement parks, vacations and camping trips and other outings. Therefore, child support is used to cover for a child’s age-appropriate entertainment desires, as agreed upon between the parents.
Child support is also used for children’s extracurricular activities. This refers to the activities that fall outside of regular school hours such as after-school programs or classes, summer camp, sports activities, clubs such as Girl or Boy Scouts and other non-school-related activities.
Divorces or separations between partners can get messy in many ways, especially when it comes to determining child support. However, the well-being of their children should be their main priority, so they should put their differences aside and work together to provide the best care for their kids.
While hiring a lawyer can be of great help to guide you through the process, you should still get familiar with what child support entails and how you can give your children the financial support they need.
For more information on this matter, refer back to our guide and learn about what child support covers in the state of Illinois.