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With summer upon us, parents are currently more worried about things like daycare and ensuring their children stay out of trouble during the longest days of the year than they are about homework, school supplies, and extracurricular activities. But before you know it, August and September will be here again, which means that children and parents alike will be getting ready for the return to school. For divorced parents, this time can raise a lot of questions about parental responsibilities. For example, who is responsible for paying for school supplies?

With Whom Does the Child Live?

After a divorce in Illinois, many obligations regarding payment for a child’s activities, school, and any “extras” are determined by with whom the child lives, which in turn determines which parent pays child support. This is because basic costs of raising a child, including ordinary extracurricular activities, clothing, and education are already factored into a child support payment. This means that the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their time should receive a child support payment that is large enough to cover the costs of school supplies.

A child support paying parent has no other financial obligation to their child other than to make their child support payments on time and in full. This means that while you may ask this parent for extra assistance in buying school supplies for your child, they do not have to comply with your request unless is it part of a court order; in some cases, a court may order that parents must split child expenses, including the costs of school supplies, 50/50.

What If Child Support Is Not Enough?

If you do not believe that your child support order is enough to cover the costs of school supplies, and if your circumstances or the circumstance of your ex-spouse have changed dramatically (i.e. you have lost your job and are earning less income, or your ex-spouse has receive a promotion and is earning more), you can request a modification of a child support order. In order for this request to be granted, you will need to prove that a significant change in circumstances has occurred that warrants amending the current child support order.

Working with Your Ex-Spouse

When it comes to purchasing school supplies for your child, working with your ex-spouse in an amicable manner is often the best course of action. Assuming you both love and care for your child, you both probably want your child to have at least the basics when it comes to school supplies, if not the very best. As such, you may both be willing to sit down and talk about your child’s school supply needs and make a contribution to this fund, regardless of who is the primary caregiver/child support paying party.

Do You Need an Illinois Family Law Attorney?

If your ex-spouse is refusing to pay your court-ordered child support, or if you need to modify a child support order following a change in circumstance, you should consider calling an experienced Illinois family law attorney. Our legal team at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can provide you with the legal assistance you’re looking for. Send us a message today to request your initial consultation.