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Add-ons to a parent's child support obligation

A previous post here discussed how a Rockford, Illinois, parent can, often with the help of a family lawyer, ask a court to order the child's other parent to help with uninsured medical expenses. This is so even if the other parent is already paying child support under a court order.

As that previous post mentioned, uninsured medical expenses can otherwise very quickly add up and overwhelm a single parent who is trying to make ends meet. However, these are not the only big, common expenses that parents raising children will face. School-aged children, for instance, will likely be involved in a range of school and other activities that oftentimes cost money. Those parents who have work or other obligations may need to arrange child care, especially for their younger children, although school-aged children and even teens and "tweens" may need babysitting as well.

As is the case with uninsured medical expenses, the Illinois Child Support Guidelines contemplate that parents will have some of these costs and, in fairness, should get help from each other in paying them. As such, judges have the authority to enter orders requiring a parent to contribute to these costs. Such expenses are paid over and above a basic child support obligation.

With respect to extracurricular activities, the law gives judges a fair amount of leeway to decide what activities are important enough so as to require both parents to contribute to their cost. The key question is whether the activity really is something that is going to educate or improve the child in some key aspect of the child's growth and development.

The rules about child care are a bit more specific, although the term "child care" itself is interpreted fairly broadly. Basically, parents are expected to contribute to necessary child care expenses according to how much income each parent makes. What is truly a necessary child care expense can be subject to debate.

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