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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in child support

kane county divorce lawyerThe outcome of a divorce decree is legally binding on both parties, and there are consequences for failing to adhere to the terms of the order. However, circumstances change, and people may find themselves unwilling or unable to abide by the terms of their divorce order or may believe their spouse is violating the terms. For example, your former spouse may not pay the required amount of child support, or you may need to move out of state and will require a change in your shared parental responsibilities. 

If you find yourself in this situation, you can take action. Although some things, such as property division, are finalized and highly unlikely to change following a divorce decree, other things can change. 

Which Issues Can Be Modified? 

  • Child support is one of the most commonly modified parts of a divorce decree. Typically, the change in a parent’s income must be substantial to modify the required child support payments. A change in a child’s needs may also require a change in child support payments. For example, if a child is diagnosed with a learning disability and requires extensive educational support, a parent’s child support payments may be modified to reflect the new expenses. 

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st charles paternity lawyerAccording to recent statistics from the Pew Research Center, around 35 percent of unmarried parents are in cohabiting relationships. This includes many parents who have a child without getting married, but continue to live together in a committed relationship. In a case such as this, you might assume that establishing legal paternity is unnecessary, as the child’s father is living with the child and actively involved in raising him or her. However, failing to take the steps to definitively establish paternity can be a costly mistake in the long run.

Does Cohabitation Create a Presumption of Paternity?

In Illinois, there are certain situations in which a man is automatically presumed to be a child’s legal father. This includes when the man is married to the child’s mother when the child is born, as well as when the man is in a civil union or “substantially similar legal relationship” with the child’s mother, such as a domestic partnership or common law marriage established in another state. However, cohabiting alone does not qualify as a substantially similar legal relationship. This means that even if a man lives with his child, he may not be recognized as the child’s father under the law.

Taking Steps to Establish Paternity

There are several major downsides of failing to establish legal paternity after a child is born. It will be more difficult for the child and the child’s mother to secure child support from the father, and the child will also not have access to other benefits through the father, including inheritance rights, insurance coverage, and government benefits. Also, if the man’s relationship with the mother ends, he will not have the right to petition for parental responsibilities and parenting time unless he has been recognized as the child’s legal father.

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Kane County family law attorneyIn Illinois, child support is an important obligation for all unmarried parents, as it works to ensure that their children’s needs are provided for. However, child support can also be a source of confusion and consternation for parents with complicated or unusual financial circumstances. Many parents who are ordered to pay child support receive some or most of their income from self-employment or a business or professional practice that they own. In these cases, determining a parent’s child support obligation is not always straightforward.

The Basic Child Support Calculation in Illinois

Since 2017, Illinois has used a standard calculation to determine each parent’s expected financial contribution to provide for their children’s basic needs. This calculation uses an “income shares model” in which a parent’s support obligation is based in large part on their portion of the combined net income of both parents. This means that for a child support order to be equitable, it is important to have an accurate understanding of each parent’s income.

Net income not only includes income from employment, but also many other sources. Even parents whose income is primarily from wages paid by an employer will need to report other sources of income for the purposes of calculating child support, and this can include income from a side business. For parents whose primary source of income is their own business, it will be important to thoroughly review the business’s revenue and expenses.

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St. Charles family law attorney child support

On a fundamental level, Illinois law seeks to ensure that a child’s basic needs are met and that whenever possible, both parents contribute financially to meet them. However, many parents find it important to provide their children with more than the basics, perhaps because they have the means to do so, or because their children have special needs that result in additional expenses. In the event of a divorce or any other situation involving a child support order between unmarried parents, it is important to consider the full range of expenses for which each parent should be expected to provide.

Extraordinary Child Support Expenses

The baseline amount that parents are expected to contribute to child support is determined in large part using a schedule of basic child support obligations maintained by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The schedule considers the combined income level of the parents, as well as the regular annual costs of raising a child, including food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and minor educational and medical expenses.

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

While most parents understand the importance of providing for their children, child support decisions can still be a source of conflict for unmarried parents or parents going through a divorce. As a parent, it is understandable that you would want to ensure that the terms of your child support order not only account for your children’s needs but also your own financial resources and ability to provide. In some cases, a child support order that once suited the needs of everyone involved may no longer be adequate in the coming years. This is perhaps more true than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when many parents are struggling with their health and finances in ways that they may never have expected. Fortunately, it may be possible to pursue a child support modification that can make the situation more manageable.

Modifying an Illinois Child Support Order During COVID-19

The basic child support payment calculation in Illinois considers the monthly net income of both parents at the time the order is issued, in an effort to allocate financial responsibility fairly between both parents. If your income changes after the initial calculation, however, you may find it difficult to continue fulfilling the obligation in your child support order. COVID-19 has brought many challenges that have led to decreases in income, including:

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

Couples who decide to end their marriage have several decisions to make, including how to divide their assets and property. When children are involved, there are additional factors to consider. Parents who get a divorce while their children are under the age of 18, one of the court’s top priorities is ensuring that the children will still have access to the same level of financial support from both parents that they had during the marriage. In most cases, this means that one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other for the purposes of providing for the children’s basic needs. As you prepare for your Illinois divorce, it is important to know whether you are likely to be the paying parent.

What Factors Influence Child Support Payments?

Based on the way that child support is calculated in Illinois, the answers to two basic questions can help you determine whether you will be expected to make support payments to the other parent:

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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

In Illinois, both divorced and unmarried parents are obligated to contribute financially to child support for children under the age of 18, which covers their basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and regular daily expenses. However, many parents consider it important to pay for their children’s college education even after they have turned 18, and it can be challenging to account for this significant expense after a divorce when the parents’ assets have been divided. If you are a divorcing parent with a child who is in college or planning to attend in the future, you may want to take advantage of Illinois laws that allow you to address college expenses in your divorce agreement.

What College Costs Can Be Covered in a Divorce Agreement?

If the court determines that the situation calls for it, it can order both parents to contribute to college or vocational training expenses for a child up to the age of 23, and in some cases until the child turns 25. The order may account for a wide range of educational costs, including:

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Kane County family law attorneysA divorce under the best circumstances still has its challenges. When parents split up and are no longer married, they are still responsible for supporting their children, both emotionally and financially. This is why child support orders are included in a final divorce decree. In Illinois, basic support payments are calculated according to the Income Shares model. This approach takes the combined net income of both parents into consideration when determining the amount each spouse is obligated to pay. However, what happens when a parent remarries, has more children, and gets divorced for a second time? Will the child support order for a second divorce be the same as the first divorce? It is helpful to seek professional legal counsel to find out how multiple marriages and children affect this type of financial support. 

Income Shares Model 

Once a couple has finalized their divorce, it is common for one spouse to pay child support, spousal maintenance, or both in some cases. Illinois law provides guidelines for determining this financial support. Remarriage can have an effect on the duration and amount of child support payments made to the custodial parent, which is the parent with the majority of the parental responsibilities

In 2017, Illinois changed its child support law to use the Income Shares model when calculating payment amounts. Previously, the number of children involved and only the obligor parent’s income were taken into consideration when determining a support order. 

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Algonquin paternity lawyer

In Illinois, paternity must be established in order for a father’s name to appear on their child’s birth certificate. Also, it is essential in setting up child custody (officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois), parenting time (child visitation), and child support if the child’s parents are not married or in a civil union.

By legal definition, paternity is the official, documented relationship between a father and their child. When it is established, it provides a child with eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, Social Security disability benefits if their parent is disabled, veteran’s benefits, and inheritances. While paternity can be a straightforward and quick process, it can be complicated in certain scenarios. Either way, it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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St. Charles family lawer

When a party involved in a family law case receives an unfavorable decision from the court, they can appeal the ruling. When you have initial conversations with prospective family lawyers for your case, make sure you discuss their knowledge and aptitude regarding the appeals process, which could be critical if that step becomes necessary. 

There are a few common mistakes litigators can make. It is helpful for even skilled and experienced lawyers to review these points as a refresher. Here are some areas to cover with your lawyer so that together you can craft the best possible strategy to achieve a favorable result.

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Kane County child support attorneyNational Child Support Awareness Month was established in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, with the purpose of ensuring that all children have the financial support they need. This month is a great time to review Illinois law on this subject as well as the purpose behind child support payments. In the context of a divorce or family law case, child support can be a contentious issue that may require the help of experienced counsel. In addition, Illinois child support laws have recently changed, and an attorney can explain your rights and obligations under the current laws.

Recent Changes to Illinois Child Support Law

As of July 1, 2017, Illinois follows the income shares method of determining child support. The income shares formula considers the average costs to raise a child for a family at a similar income level to what the couple had during their marriage. If there are two incomes, they are added together, and the total child support obligation is based on this combined income. Next, each parent's portion of the obligation is calculated based on the percentage that they contribute to the combined income. Typically, The parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time will receive child support payments from the other parent.

Illinois was the 40th state to adopt the income shares model. Previously, only one parent’s income was used in calculating child support. The income shares model is praised for its fairness by experts. It should be noted that child support orders entered before July 1, 2017 will stay the same unless a parent can demonstrate that a significant change in the family’s circumstances requires a modification.

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