Can Christmas Gifts Replace Child Support Payments?
The purpose of child support is to help the primary residential parent of a child or children to be able to afford basic necessities such as rent or mortgage payments, the child’s clothing, school supplies, and their meals. Those who receive child support often depend on that extra income in order to pay their bills and maintain a good quality of life for their children. For some parents, a missed payment here and there will not cause a major financial crisis. For others living on a tight budget, a missed child support payment can be devastating. During the holidays, many parents rush to the stores to buy their children Christmas gifts. However, it is important to note that the money spent on children’s Christmas gifts cannot count toward child support payments.
Changes to Child Support in Illinois
Recently, several major changes were made to the way Illinois courts calculate child support. The amount of child support that is awarded to a parent is now based on an “income shares” or “shared parenting” model. The incomes of both parents are now taken into account, rather than solely that of the paying parent. The new model also takes into consideration how much time the parents each spend with their children on an overnight basis. This is intended to help alleviate the child support costs for those parents who also spend money on their children during their parenting time. The new model is based on three main factors: the estimated total amount of money needed to raise the child, extra costs that a parent may encounter such as expenses for health care, education, and after-school activities, and the amount of overnights the child spends with each parent.
What Should I Do If My Spouse Does Not Pay Child Support?
The law does not consider gifts for a child’s birthday or Christmas as counting toward child support payments. If a parent wishes to buy their child gifts, these gifts are above and beyond the regular amount he or she pays for child support and are not viable substitutes for child support. If your child’s other parent is unwilling to pay their child support or insists that other gifts should “count”, you may have cause to seek legal action.
Trusted Legal Aide
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we know that many families depend on child support to make ends meet. If your child’s other parent is refusing to pay his or her fair share of parenting costs, we can help. Contact one of our compassionate Kane County family law attorneys for guidance. Call 630-549-0960 for a completely confidential initial consultation today.