Could a Parenting Time Schedule Affect an Order for Child Support?
In a large number of Illinois divorce cases involving parents, one is designated the primary residential parent for the purposes of school enrollment and child support. Most such situations result in the other parent being ordered to make child support payments. An arrangement like this may be fairly equitable for parents with drastically uneven amounts of parenting time, including cases in which a non-primary residential parent who only gets parenting time once or twice per month. However, many other co-parenting arrangements are much more even, and in some cases, may be 50/50. For a non-primary residential parent in such a situation, he or she may try to negotiate lower child support payments.
Under the Law
According to the letter of the state law regarding child support, a court’s decision regarding support does not include explicit consideration for parenting time. Instead, the supporting parent’s income and the number of children are the primary considerations, while the needs of the child, the needs of each parent, and their available resources may be subjectively taken into account as well. When strictly applied, it may seem nearly impossible for a parent to show that parenting time should impact his or her child support payments.
Out of Court Negotiation
One option for such a parent would be a detailed, reasonable negotiation with the primary residential parent that explicitly addresses all of the child’s current and anticipated needs. By balancing the provided financial support with the love, attention, and care associated with shared parenting responsibilities, the parents may be able to reach a mutual agreement. The court is not required to accept such an agreement, but if the parents can demonstrate the best interests of the child are being fully considered, the agreement could be approved.
The other alternative for a non-primary residential parent with a more than usual allotment of parenting time would be to convince the court that the child’s needs for financial support have been reduced as a result. For example, if, due to the increased parenting time, the non-residential parent is contributing a larger amount directly to the needs of the child such as clothing and food. Thus, the overall needs of the child have been reduced and the order for support can also be reduced accordingly.
As with most areas of the law, every child support case is unique and the outcome will be based your particular circumstances. If you have questions about any aspect of the proceedings or are ready to discuss your needs for professional representation, contact an experienced Kane County defense attorney. We are ready to help you achieve the outcome you deserve, no matter how complicated your case may be.