Can a child support order add expenses for child care?

The main objective behind a child support order in Illinois is to serve the best interests of the child. While the courts will seek to cover every eventuality, other factors come to the forefront based on the circumstances. One is if a parent needs to pay for child care. A common concern is whether there will be an addition to the basic child care order to pay for child care expenses. This can happen and it is at the discretion of the court to do so. The court can order either parent or both parents to contribute to reasonable child care expenses. These will be paid to the party or directly to the entity that is caring for the child.

With child care expenses, the definition of the term is based on the actual expenses that are needed to let a parent have a job, go to school, get vocational training to improve employment prospects, or to look for a job. It can also include deposits so a child can be placed in a child care program, costs for before and after school, and camps when there is no school. If the child has special needs, this will be factored in when the amount and need is determined.

When child care costs are calculated, this will be prorated based on the percentage of the parents’ net income. It might be added to the basic child support order if it is not paid directly to the parent or to the provider of child care. The amount that each parent pays will be in the support order. The amount will be sufficient for reasonable child care. The average amount that child care costs can be averaged over a recent yearlong period. If a parent is unemployed, not attending school or a vocational program and this is temporary, the future costs for child care will be assessed based on prospective expenses when the parent goes back to one of those jobs or programs. There can be a modification of an order for child care expenses if it is shown that there was a substantial change in circumstances.

Parents who have parted ways and share a child will need to adjust based on no longer living together as a couple. That can include the allocation of parental responsibilities, the need for child care, and paying for it. Understanding how this aspect of child support is dealt with under that law is critical and a lawyer can help.

Source:, “Sec. 505. Child support; contempt; penalties. — (3.7) Child care expenses.,” accessed on March 27, 2018

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