St. Charles Divorce with Special Needs Child Attorney

Kane County Child Support Attorney Explains Support Obligations For Disabled Children

Having a child with a severe illness or disability can strain a family both financially and emotionally. Parents often disagree on what are "reasonable and necessary" expenses for a child with special medical and/or educational needs and how to divide those expenses fairly between the parents.

At Goostree Law Group, our attorneys approach every child support case with compassion and concern for both your child's well-being and your personal circumstances. We have the skill and experience to handle the most complex cases, including those involving children with unusual physical, intellectual, and emotional needs.

Each of our attorneys is a highly skilled negotiator and litigator with an average of 15 years' experience. We strive to resolve child support and parenting matters through amicable negotiation, always with an eye toward giving both parents and children the best possible life. With your best interests and the best interests of your children as our top priority, you can rely on us to advocate strongly for your point of view in these matters.

Illinois Law on Child Support for Special Needs Children

While Illinois law requires both parents to contribute toward the needs of their minor children, parents are not expected to do this at the expense of all other needs, such as their own retirement savings and the needs of other family members.

Illinois law addresses the issue of children with special needs as follows:

Child Support Up to Age 18

In either an initial award of child support or an action to modify child support (750 ILCS 5/505), the court may deviate from the standard child support guidelines after considering such factors as:

  • The child's financial resources, such as the child's entitlement to Social Security disability benefits or a personal injury settlement.
  • The child's needs, including extraordinary medical expenditures necessary to preserve the life or health of a child and additional expenses incurred for a child with special medical, physical, or developmental needs.
  • Each parent's financial resources, such as one parent having substantial premarital or inherited assets that could be used for a child's support.
  • Each parent's needs, such as extraordinary medical expenses necessary to preserve their life or health.
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents remained married.

Child Support After Age 18

To support an adult son or daughter who is mentally or physically disabled, the court may award sums of money out of the property and income of either or both parents or the estate of a deceased parent (750 ILCS 5/513.5). These funds may be paid to one of the parents, to a trust created by the parents for the disabled adult's benefit, or irrevocably to a special needs trust for the sole benefit of that disabled adult. Either parent may petition the court for this type of support award either before or after the child turns 18. In making this type of support award, the court is required to consider all relevant factors that appear reasonable and necessary, including:

  • The present and future financial resources of each parent to meet their own needs, including but not limited to their needs in retirement.
  • The financial resources of the child, including any government aid or support services.
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents remained married.

Special Needs Trust

If deemed necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the children, the court may set aside a portion of each parent's assets in a separate fund or trust for the care of a minor, dependent, or incompetent child. This determination is made as part of the division of property in a divorce settlement (750 ILCS 5/503g).

Maintenance (Spousal Support) for a Caregiving Parent

The court may award maintenance payments to one spouse in consideration of "the effect of any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on a party's ability to seek or maintain employment" (750 ILCS 5/504(a)(6.1)).

Legal Representation for a child

If the court deems necessary, it may appoint an attorney to serve as independent legal counsel for a child, as a guardian ad litem, or as a child representative. Both a guardian ad litem and a child representative have the authority to investigate the facts of the case and to interview the child, parents, and other relevant parties. The difference between them is that the guardian ad litem must also make an official written report to the court containing their recommendations in accordance with the best interests of the child (750 ILCS 5/606).

Contact a St. Charles Special Needs Child Support Lawyer

The attorneys of Goostree Law Group will advocate strongly for your interests in matters of divorce, family law, and criminal defense. We serve clients in the Kane County communities of St. Charles, Campton Hills, Elgin, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elburn, Kaneville, and LaFox. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation.

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