Child Support Obligation Extensions
Parents have a legal duty to support their children. This duty includes providing for each child's educational, physical, mental, and emotional health needs. Therefore, when spouses divorce and a parent is ordered to pay child support, the payments are meant to meet these needs until each child reaches 18 years of age or graduation from high school, whichever occurs later. However, under various circumstances, the requirement for support may be extended. With respect to monthly child support, Illinois law requires that if a child has not graduated from high school when he or she reaches the age of 18, a parent's obligation to pay support can be extended until the child reaches 19 years of age.
In Illinois, child support orders are supposed to include a date indicating when payments will end. The support termination date cannot occur before a child reaches 18 years of age. Essentially, this rule is set to ensure parents financially provide for each minor child who may not otherwise be able to provide for themselves. However, if a child is emancipated before his or her eighteenth birthday, or before completing high school, a court may change or modify the existing support termination date.
Parents who are ordered to pay child support, but are behind in payments by the termination date, are still required to pay the unpaid support after the termination date passes.
Support for an Adult Child with Disabilities
When a child has a mental or physical disability, and is unable to care for themselves, a judge has the discretion to extend support beyond the age of maturity and into adulthood. While the child has no right to the support, a judge can order it or find that in a particular case it is not appropriate. A judge can also order that one or both parents use income or property to support the adult child, and the petition can be made before or after the child reaches the age of 18. When making the decision to order continued support, a judge may consider the financial resources of the child in addition to those of the parents.
Consult an Illinois Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce and would like to ensure your children are properly cared for via child support, the Illinois family law attorneys at MKFM Law can help. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 to discuss your case.