Establishing adequate child support funds

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Most states, like Illinois, have set percentages established to determine child support payments. Some parents may wonder if there is any way to adjust those payments based on their child’s activities. Raising children isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t budget friendly. Determining what is not included in child support payments is often just as important as determining what is.

There is a big difference between wants and needs, extras and essentials. What may seem like a want to one parent may be considered a need for another. Many primary custodial parents end up spending their designated support payments on childcare, leaving them little left to provide other things — such as enrichment activities. Unfortunately, there isn’t a law stating the noncustodial parent is required to pay more than their established obligation to cover these activities.

It may be possible to negotiate some extras — such as extracurricular activities, cars, insurance or even college funds — separately into a divorce agreement, though they certainly aren’t required to be added. Planning these things into a budget before a divorce can help primary custodial parents develop a financial plan to allow for extra opportunities. Providing a list of activities with approximate costs, before a support order is given, may open the door to discussing the possibility of increasing support payments.

Dividing a household from one to two isn’t cheap and can create financial difficulties for both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Generally speaking, the main goal of child support is to ensure basic needs are being provided. After that, if Illinois parents are willing to negotiate they may be able to establish a standard support order to include stipulations regarding extras.

Source: The Huffington Post, “What Child Support Does Not Cover“, Natalie Gregg, June 11, 2014

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Establishing adequate child support funds