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Within limits, parents can get creative bargaining child support

In Illinois, parents have some freedom to be creative in their bargaining when it comes to setting an appropriate amount of child support. For example, in lieu of a straight up cash payment, a parent may also agree to pay all or part of particular bills and expenses that come up. Other alternatives may include setting up a fund for one's children so that they can draw income from it.

However, these sorts of agreements are subject to certain limits, since child support is ultimately something that is wrapped up in the well-being of a child and is part and parcel of a parent's duty to care for and support his or her offspring.

For this reason, it may be hard to convince a judge that child support should be forgone altogether, even if both parents agree to that and even if the parents are spending roughly equal amounts of time with the children.

The legal reason for this difficulty is that, even if the parents are in agreement, courts still have an obligation to follow Illinois's established child support guidelines. There are certain exceptions to this rule, so judges have some ability to make changes to account for a creative arrangement regarding child support, such as a case in which one parent is paying some extra bills that are going to the maintenance and support of his or her children.

Sometimes, being able to get a little creative about how a parent pays child support can mean the difference between having to go to court and getting a dispute about child support resolved. A family law attorney with experience in child support matters can be of valuable assistance in this respect.

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