Child support agreements addressing requests for “other expenses” can help avoid trips back to court. There is often a lot of litigation over setting a child support amount, mostly because the obligor claims he cannot afford it. What often comes as a shocker is when non-custodial parents realize financially supporting a child involves more than just “child support”. Per 750 ILCS 5/505, Illinois law provides that the non-custodial parent is also responsible for 50% of other expenses, including but not limited to: uncovered medical expenses, child care, education, and extracurricular activities.
Child Support Agreements and Non-Custodial Parent’s Responsibility for 50% of Other Expenses
In order to protect our child support clients from an abuse of the “other expenses” provision, we try to word agreements and court orders in a way that gives the non-custodial parent more say in a situation before he or she is stuck with the bill.
For example, adding a child to your medical insurance does not always mean that the premium will increase. For family plans, the amount will often be the same. If you are able to include the child in your health insurance, the entire amount for health insurance can be included as a deduction for child support purposes thus lowering your child support obligation.
Addressing Educational Expenses in Support Agreements
For education, if both parties have joint decision-making, then both parties would need to approve the school before the child is enrolled. If worded correctly, you should not be stuck with a private school bill if you did not agree to it. You may still be responsible for all other school expenses such as books, registration, and any other school-related expenses.
Be Reasonable with Extracurricular Activities
For extracurricular activities, we often include that the parties must agree to that activity, and not unreasonably withhold their consent before they are responsible for paying 50% of the said expense. That prevents one parent from enrolling the child in several activities without the other parent’s consent and then expecting the other parent to foot half the bill. The parent must not unreasonably withhold their consent, however. So not agreeing to any activity in order to avoid paying for any expenses would not fly.
Avoid Problems with a Support Agreement
It is important to incorporate the proper language in court documents when addressing these issues in order to prevent an excessive amount of expenses that you cannot afford.