Hoffman Estates divorce attorney for children’s medical costsPrior to filing for divorce, you may not have given much thought to maintaining health insurance coverage for your children and covering these costs. Health insurance is a somewhat controversial topic in the United States that also has the potential to lead to disputes during a divorce. One of the important elements in your parenting plan for your children will be the terms addressing your child’s medical information. You and your spouse must come to an agreement on several issues pertaining to your child’s healthcare, including how decisions will be made. One of the most important elements involves how you and your spouse will split the costs of your child’s medical care.

Maintaining Health Insurance for Your Child

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides the formula that is used to calculate the basic child support obligation that both parents are responsible for. This formula takes into account various factors, such as the parents’ income and parenting time. The IMDMA states that the basic child support obligation is meant to be used toward a portion of your child’s out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, the court has the discretion to order either or both parents to initiate health insurance coverage for your child. If neither parent has health insurance coverage, or if their child is not eligible for coverage, the court may require the parents to seek state-sponsored health insurance for the child.

Managing Other Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenses

There will likely be times that you find that health insurance does not cover 100 percent of the costs associated with certain medical treatments or doctor’s visits. In these situations, it could be confusing and frustrating if you and your ex did not have a plan in place. If you often have out-of-pocket medical expenses for your child, you can ask the court to include a medical expense contribution in addition to the monthly child support obligation. This contribution would help cover expenses such as:

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Palatine child support attorney for additional expensesEveryone knows that raising children can be expensive. The costs of food, clothing, toys, and other needs can add up quickly. In fact, it is now estimated that the average cost of raising and supporting a child to age 18 is around $233,610, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study. While this may not seem to all that much when spread out over 18 years, it can still be difficult for one parent to pay for all of the costs of raising a child. This is why child support is typically ordered in cases in which parents are divorced or separated, ensuring that both parents are responsible for financially providing for a child’s needs.

Extra Costs of Raising a Child

In Illinois, a basic child support obligation is typically determined during a divorce case, and this is meant to account for all of the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and housing. However, any parent knows that there are many more expenses involved in raising a child. With this in mind, Illinois law also has provisions to account for other child-related expenses, such as:

  • Education: A court can order one or both parents to provide for a child’s school tuition. If the child was already attending private school or has been in private school for the majority of their educational career, they will likely be allowed to continue their private school education, and the costs of tuition will be divided between the parents. Parents may also be required to divide other school-related costs, such as registration fees or expenses related to school supplies.
  • Child-Care Expenses: Paying for daycare while parents are working can become expensive. Illinois courts can order one or both parents to contribute to “reasonable child care expenses” for the child, which can be payable to one of the parents or directly to the child care institution. The costs for child care will most likely be prorated in accordance with each spouse’s percentage of the combined household income.
  • Extracurricular Activities: As with schooling expenses, Illinois courts may require parents to divide the costs of the other activities in which the children participate. The court can order these expenses to be covered as long as the activities are intended to enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child.
  • Health Care: A portion of the basic child support obligation is intended to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs associated with health care. The court can also order either parent to initiate or continue health care coverage for the child through their own health insurance plans, and the costs of health insurance premiums will typically be divided between the parents. Based on the needs of the child, the court can also order each parent to contribute toward other health care costs.

Contact an Arlington Heights Child Support Lawyer

Raising a child is no easy task. Doing so can put a strain on both your finances and your emotions, but it is one of the most rewarding things in the world. If you are wondering how your child’s expenses will be taken care of after your divorce, contact an experienced Barrington family law attorney at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson. Mr. Richardson has more than 15 years of family law experience, and he can help you address and resolve any child-related issues you may have. Our firm offers free consultations, so call 847-873-6741 to schedule an appointment today.

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Mt. Prospect child support attorneyAll parents in Illinois are responsible for providing financial support for their children. This is a fairly straightforward matter during a marriage, but after divorce, it can become more complicated. In many cases, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent, and these payments are meant to help with daily expenses and costs associated with raising the child. Sometimes, a non-custodial parent may find him or herself in financial trouble, or he or she may want to punish the other parent by refusing to pay support. However, a non-custodial parent can face severe consequences for not paying court-ordered child support. Custodial parents should be sure to understand their options for enforcing payment of child support that is owed. 

In some cases, a parent may work with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce payment of child support. A parent may also work with a family law attorney to take legal action through the court. The consequences a non-paying parent may face include:

Wage Garnishment

If a parent does not pay child support, his or her wages may be garnished to ensure that payments are made on time and in full. An Income Withholding for Support request will be sent to the parent’s employer. This notice will include instructions regarding the amount the employer should withhold from the parent’s paychecks and where to send that money. A wage garnishment order can ensure that ongoing child support obligations are met, or it may remain in effect until the entire balance of past-due child support is paid, along with interest. 

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Mt. Prospect child support attorneyWhen a court orders a parent to pay child support, this is many times done as part of a divorce case. The parent required to pay support typically must begin paying it from the date the order is issued. However, there may be cases in which a custodial parent would ask for child support to be paid for a time period before the order was issued. Usually, these cases involve unmarried parents, although sometimes, a spouse that was at one time married to the other parent may ask for retroactive child support as well. 

Retroactive Child Support for Married Parents

Married parents cannot ask for retroactive child support dating as far back as the child’s birth. The law assumes that during the marriage, both parents were contributing to the support of the child, and as such, child support is not owed for that time. However, there are instances in which a spouse may still ask for retroactive child support as part of a divorce. This may address the period of time before the child support order is issued. In this case, the parent receiving the support for the child can ask for retroactive child support from the date a petition for child support was filed with the court. 

For example, a father may be served divorce papers on February 1. On May 1, the mother may file a petition for child support. After being awarded child support on July 1, she may ask for retroactive support. This would provide support for the two months between the motion and the hearing. A judge has discretion at this point as to whether to award retroactive support or not. 

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Hoffman Estates child support modification attorney

During a divorce that involves children, one parent (typically the non-custodial parent) will usually be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. However, the one constant in life is change. When life changes affect a parent’s employment and the income he or she earns, modifications to child support orders may be necessary. This can ensure that a parent will not be required to make payments that he or she cannot afford, and it can make sure that both parents are continuing to meet their children’s financial needs. 

Since Illinois law takes both parents’ incomes into account when determining child support, if either parent receives a promotion or an increase in pay, the amount of the parents’ child support obligations may need to be recalculated. If you need help modifying your child support order, you should work with an experienced family law attorney.

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