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Michael L. Lodermeier, P.C. Family Law Blog

How do added expenses affect child support?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2021 | Firm News

Raising a child is often not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, according to one recent survey, parents spend more than $13,000 per year on their kids. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you likely already know you may either have to pay or be eligible to receive child support.  

Judges in Illinois consider the best interests of the child when making support orders. They also use child support guidelines to determine how much money each parent must spend to support the child. Sometimes, of course, an initial support order becomes inadequate, requiring one or both parents to pursue a modification. 

What does child support cover?

In Illinois, child support usually covers the basic needs of the child. These typically include food, clothing, housing, transportation and uncovered medical expenses. Still, judges in Illinois have wide latitude to add other costs to their child support orders.  

For example, the judge may order the paying parent to provide financial support for private school, extracurricular activities, recreational pursuits or special accommodations.  

What are added expenses?

The needs of any child change over time. When children are young, they need diapers, formula, toys and frequent medical checkups. Teenagers, by contrast, may need braces, music lessons or private school tuition. Put simply, a child support order that initially meets the need of the child may become grossly inadequate as the child ages. 

How do parents modify support orders?

An existing child support order is likely to be in effect until the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school. If the order is no longer adequate, either parent can likely request a modification. To do so, either three years must have passed since the last order or there must be a material change in circumstances. 

Added expenses may be sufficient to support a modification request. Still, because the judge may either increase or lower the support obligation, understanding the risk of seeking a modification is critical.