Child support and health care expenses

Parents in Lake County, Illinois, and other parts of the suburbs of Northern Chicago may know enough about how child support works in this state to recognize that it in many cases follows a formula.

In other words, while parents might quibble about the numbers that should go in to a child support calculation, once these numbers are settled, the amount a parent must pay, to a great extent, is what it is.

However, parents who are trying to raise children, particularly in separate households, probably also know how astronomical health care costs are at present. Especially if a child has some special medical or other professional needs, medical bills can quickly become nearly impossible for one parent to afford alone.

Thankfully, Illinois’ Child Support Guidelines do give courts the ability to assist parents with their children’s health care expenses in two respects. First, a judge may order one parent to procure affordable health coverage for his or her children and then give that parent an appropriate credit on child support. A judge can even in the right circumstances order the parent to apply for public assistance.

Secondly, a judge has discretion to require either parent, or both parents, to pay for uninsured medical expenses. A judge can consider a number of factors when doing so, including each parent’s income. Likewise, a judge has a lot of leeway as to how to divvy up these expenses between the two parents.

Precisely because a judge has so much freedom, it is important that a person seeking additional support for medical and related expenses understand how to make a persuasive argument in support of their position.