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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

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 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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