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DuPage County Divorce Attorney asset division

Each week, month, and year, new social media trends get released and new platforms begin to surface. What was popular last week, may not mean much once another Monday rolls around. As smartphones and social media have become more integrated into our lives, it can be easy to forget that there are still personal boundaries when it comes to what should and should not be posted online. Studies have shown that social media content has affected people’s views on their relationships, including romantic ones, sometimes causing issues that could be mitigated without the high usage of social media. With Facebook’s option to list your relationship status, Instagram’s ability to post photos with your new significant other, and Twitter’s propensity to elicit Tweets venting about your ex, your social media posts can greatly impact your Illinois divorce.

Using Your Spouse’s Posts to Your Advantage

If both you and your spouse are heavy social media users, your posts may become evidence in your divorce proceedings. While a judge cannot make a decision based on a single post, online postings can be an indicator of your spouse’s character and reveal white lies he or she may have attempted to tell throughout the divorce. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney child support

A divorce involves many issues that need resolving, especially when children are involved. When determining child support, the financial status of both parents is seriously considered. If the non-custodial parent is providing support, the child’s medical expenses may cause an additional financial burden. These additional expenses could cause the judge to lessen the amount of support given to the custodial parent. Whether you are the non-custodial or the custodial parent, it is important to consult with a skilled family law attorney if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child support payments.

Determining Support

Child support calculations can be incredibly complex. Within the state of Illinois, child support payments are usually paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to provide additional financial support for the child’s basic needs such as food and clothing. Payments can also be used to fund tuition, transportation, housing expenses, extracurricular activities, and medical care costs. These factors, as well as the net income of both parents, will be used to determine the amount of support the custodial parent will receive from the non-custodial parent. 

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DuPage County child support attorney

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have had to lay off or terminate their employees for a period of time in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Losing your job for any reason can be alarming, especially if you have children. Being unemployed can affect your finances, as well as your mental and emotional health. In addition, if you are a divorced parent, it can impact your ability to pay child support. In Illinois, child support is a legal order made as part of a divorce judgment, and the amount of child support payments is based on the needs of the children, as well as both parents’ financial situations. This type of support is meant to pay for children’s necessities, such as food and clothing. If you have recently lost your job, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding child support payments according to Illinois law.

What to Do if You Cannot Pay Child Support

Within the state of Illinois, you are required to follow the court's orders regarding payment of child support, regardless of your current circumstances. If you miss any payments while you are unemployed, you will still have to pay them at some point, and interest may be applied to past-due payments. Missing payments could result in significant penalties, including fines, the loss of your driver's license, or even jail time. To save yourself from potential legal trouble, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits that will allow you to meet your obligations, and you can take steps to modify your child support order based on your financial circumstances.

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DuPage County family law attorney parental rights

Although Illinois family law prefers a child to have two parents actively involved in his or her life, there are times when it is in the best interests of the child to terminate one of the parent’s parental rights. Once an individual’s parental rights have been terminated, he or she is no longer responsible for the child, meaning he or she does not have to pay monthly child support payments and cannot make decisions on the child’s behalf. Illinois has strict and specific rules regarding the termination of parental rights, so it is important to understand them if you are ever involved in a legal dispute regarding your or your former partner's rights regarding your child. 

The Illinois Adoption Act and Parental Rights

Typically, a parent is not allowed to give up his or her rights in order to avoid parental responsibilities or paying child support. In addition, one parent is not allowed to petition to revoke the other parent’s rights as part of a child custody dispute. Typically, parental rights will typically only be terminated if the child is being adopted by a step-parent or another party. Under the Illinois Adoption Act, parental rights can be only involuntarily terminated if:

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Lombard, IL child support attorney

Child support refers to the money paid by one parent to the other parent to help financially support their child after the parents get a divorce. However, these types of payments may also be appropriate for couples who never married but had a child together. Typically, child support is paid to the parent who was allocated the majority of the parenting time with the couple's child. In Illinois, child support is based on both parents' net incomes, and an “income shares model” is used to calculate the amount of the payments. Child support arrangements must be approved by the court. Payments are typically made on a monthly basis, and a parent can face penalties if the support payments are late or if support is unpaid.

Child Support Uses

Overall, child support is intended to maintain the child’s well-being and guarantee all of his or her basic needs are met. The basic child support obligation determined using the income shares method is meant to cover the following types of expenses:

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Wheaton divorce attorney child support enforcement

Child support payments are typically ordered by the court as part of a divorce decree, but child support payments can also be included in a legal separation agreement. In some cases, both parties may mutually settle upon the payment arrangement. Regardless of the situation (divorce or separation), there are laws in Illinois that ensure that child support orders are enforceable. However, even though child support orders are legally binding, some parents may still struggle to collect payments from a former spouse or partner. Disagreements over late, missing, or inadequate payments can create heated disagreements and high tension in both newly divorced couples and partners who have long been separated. If you are struggling to collect child support payments, a knowledgeable child support attorney can advise you of your legal options.

What Happens During a Child Support Hearing?

In the state of Illinois, a child support hearing may be conducted in one of two places: a courtroom presided over by a judge or through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). During a child support hearing, each party will answer questions about their specific circumstances, which will allow the court to determine the correct amount of support. A couple who has not yet established paternity may need to address the issue of legal fatherhood first before a child support order can be issued.

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Lombard, IL parentage attorney

When a child is born to a married couple, both spouses will be considered the child's legal parents. However, when a child is born to an unmarried mother, or when the identity of the child's father may be in doubt, it may be necessary to establish the child's legal parentage. Establishing paternity is important for the child, but it also benefits the father and mother too. For example, legal paternity may need to be established before a court determines parenting time, parental responsibilities, and child support. If you need to address issues related to your child's parentage, speaking with an experienced family law attorney can guide you through your next steps and help you establish paternity.

How Is Paternity Established?

Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father. Simply writing a person’s name on a birth certificate does not necessarily indicate paternity. In fact, paternity can be established in a variety of ways, including:

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Wheaton high-conflict divorce attorney

When it comes to divorce in the family, no one is fully immune to its emotional effects. Even the most civil of interactions between divorcing spouses can be deceiving. What might seem at first to be a friendly, mutual agreement may actually be subtly rife with tension. Conflict can simmer, and it may surface over time as the divorce proceedings unfold. By nature, divorce is a very emotional event in one’s life, and it tends to stir up a myriad of feelings for both parties, especially as the experience begins to feel more real and moves closer to its final stages. 

Common Triggers in High-Conflict Divorces

Conflict in divorce often stems from sensitive issues like money and child-rearing. These topics can be very touchy for everyone involved, even when both parties are working together to resolve the problems. Here are some of the most common sources of conflict for divorcing spouses:

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DuPage County child support modification attorney

As a parent pursuing child support following a separation or divorce, it is not uncommon to encounter various roadblocks. The process can bring all kinds of questions and concerns to the surface, and parents will need answers to these questions sooner rather than later. They need to know how much support they qualify for, how that support will be provided, and the certainty that funds are not only available but reliable on an ongoing basis. Additionally, those paying support are entitled to know how their obligations are calculated and what is expected of them by law.

Income Shares Approach

Whether discussions about support arrangements have turned tense between you and the other parent, or you simply feel overwhelmed as you begin your attempt to secure the means needed to care for your child, consider the following tips to better understand the “Income Shares” method in the state of Illinois:

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Lombard, IL child support lawyer

In a divorce, child-related issues can prove to be contentious, and disputes may arise over child support obligations. Whether raising a child with an absent parent or within an antagonistic relationship, single parents have long faced significant challenges when it comes to child support here in Illinois. While new state laws that went into effect in 2017 aimed to better protect the well-being of children in need, they also made support matters more complicated for many families, due to new calculations that the courts now use to determine financial responsibility. Regardless of the specific amount of support, the custodial parent relies on that money for expenses related to the upbringing of his or her child. In some cases, a parent may need to take legal action to collect the payments that are due.

Assistance for Obtaining Child Support Payments

If you currently find yourself in a situation where you are in need of child support but are not sure where to turn for answers, rest assured there is assistance available to help you. Here are a few examples of how an attorney can help secure the resources necessary to raise your child alone:

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How Does Remarriage Affect Child Support Payments in Illinois?Child support laws vary from state to state, especially in situations where one spouse remarries. Illinois uses an income shares model to calculate how much each parent must contribute to child support. The parents’ combined net income and the number of children will determine their combined child support obligation. Then, each parent will pay a percentage of the obligation that is proportionate to their percentage of the combined incomes. For example, a parent who makes $70,000 of a $100,000 combined income would pay 70 percent of the child support obligation.

The parent who has a majority of the parenting time will receive child support payments from the other parent, regardless of who has a greater income. However, a minority parent with a lesser income is not required to pay as much towards the children’s expenses as the majority parent with a greater income. The equation can change in a shared parenting agreement, which Illinois defines as each parent having at least 146 days with the children during the year. There are also situations in which a parent can request a modification of the child support payment. 

How Does Remarriage Tie In?

Illinois allows a parent to petition to modify child support when there is a change of circumstances that affects either:

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Lombard child support attorney

There is a common saying that it takes a village to raise a child. The state of Illinois believes that all children have a right to receive financial support from both of their parents. When an unmarried couple has a baby, child support payments can help spread the child-rearing costs more evenly. Unfortunately, not every parent understands the necessity of paying child support. An unmarried father may think he is not legally obligated to provide for his or her child financially. When a mother wishes to collect child support from an uncooperative father, there are several steps she must take to do so.  

Paternity Must Be Established Before You Can Receive Child Support

Before a child support order can be entered, paternity must be established. There are three main ways that paternity can be formally established in Illinois:

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DuPage County Child Support Lawyer

Child support payments are among the most important elements that must be determined for most couples as they begin the divorce process. While many people associate child support with divorce, parents who share a child but are not legally married may seek or be required to pay child support.

Although child support payments are typically determined through the court, some families decide to settle their payments through a mutual agreement. According to 2016 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 89.9 percent of custodial single parents have formal agreements through the court, which means only a small percentage of parents maintain an informal agreement. 

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Posted on in Child Support

Lombard family law attorneysUntil just a few months ago, Illinois courts calculated child support as a percentage of the income of the parent with fewer parental responsibilities—referred to in the past as the non-custodial parent. Since July 1, 2017, however, a new law has brought child support guidelines in Illinois up to date with modern trends and started improving the lives of all parties involved.

The Old Child Support Law

The previous law in Illinois has long been criticized for being inequitable, with not enough potential exemptions taken into account, and an alleged unfair burden on the non-custodial parent. Under the old guidelines, there were two primary factors in determining the amount of support to be paid: the income of the non-custodial parent and the number of children to be supported.

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Posted on in Child Support

Lombard family law attorneysIf your income has declined in recent months due to a change in employment or other factors, you may be struggling to make your court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance payments. You may also be wondering if there is anything you can do about it. Can you go to the judge and have your child support and maintenance payments modified accordingly?

Changing these, and other, financial provisions in a divorce is possible under Section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Any party to the case can ask the court to modify the existing order if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The statute lists a number of specific factors, as well as the general inclusion of “any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable,” for the court to take into account.

Change in Income

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Lombard family law attorneyIf you are parent facing a divorce—or breakup if you are not married—you probably understand that a child support order may be in your future. In most separated parent situations, one parent is required to make payments to the other parent to assist with the costs of raising their child. Usually, the parent with fewer responsibilities and less parenting time is the one who must provide the support, but the law allows a court to order support payments from either or both parents as appropriate.

Currently in Illinois, child support calculations are based on two primary factors: the net income of the supporting parent and the number of children that require support. Other considerations may be taken into account, but generally have less impact on the final order.

Need for Change

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Lombard child support lawyersIt seems that just a few short weeks ago, students around the country were preparing to go back to school. Retail outlets were full of pencils and notebooks, as well as dorm room furniture for those heading off to college. Suddenly, the fall semester is just about over, and most college students are looking forward to a couple weeks off before the spring semester begins. Others, however, may have rather unsatisfactory experiences at school this term along with poor grades. If you as a parent have been ordered to contribute to your child’s college expenses, his or her report card could be a sign that your obligation needs to be reevaluated.

Non-Minor Support for College Expenses

According to Illinois law, divorced parents can be required to contribute to the educational expenses of their children, even after the child has reached age 18 and started college. In ordering non-minor support, a court must take into account a number of factors, including the family’s financial situation before the divorce and each parent’s income and resources since the split. Other considerations include the child’s income and resources, such as his or her eligibility for grants, scholarships, and assistance programs. The child’s academic performance must also be factored into the decision.

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Lombard family law attorneyAlthough it may be hard to believe, Christmas is now less than three weeks away. In the upcoming days, shoppers around the country will hit the stores trying to find the right gifts for friends and family members. Most parents, of course, will be looking to fulfill the holiday wishes of their children, as they attempt to make the holiday season magical for their little ones. Sometimes, parents who are divorced or unmarried, however, may face financial challenges while they struggle to balance the cost of buying presents with their obligations for child support.

Tradition vs. the Law

Holiday gift-giving is a custom that dates back thousands of years. In the Christian tradition, three traveling kings—sometimes just referred to as the Three Wise Men—visited the infant Jesus bearing gifts for the child. The practice, however, is even older than that, as pagans and Ancient Romans celebrated festivals in the winter that including giving gifts to one another long before the birth of Christ.

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Lombard family law attorneyIf you are receiving child support payments from your child’s other parent, you may have come to rely on such payments. The payments you receive are intended to help you provide for your child’s basic needs, including housing, food, clothes, and other necessities of daily living. There is a good chance that you child support order also included considerations for your child’s educational and medical expenses, such as the cost of tuition, health insurance, non-covered care and other concerns. As your child grows and his or her needs change, however, you may need to revisit your child support order to see if a modification is needed.

Basic Child Support Calculations

Under Illinois law, a baseline determination for child support is done by taking into account the number of children to be supported and the supporting parent’s income. By law, either or both parent could be required to pay child support, but, in practice, such obligations are typically assigned to the parent with fewer parental responsibilities and/or less parenting time. If the parents share parental responsibilities and parenting time equally, the higher-earning spouse is likely to be required to make payments.

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Lombard family law attorneyIn today’s uncertain economy, many consider themselves fortunate to be gainfully employed. The possibility of a layoff or other dramatic change, however, always seems to be looming. While the thought of losing your job may be frightening under the best of circumstances, it can be downright devastating if you are already subject to a child support order. A sudden decrease in income may make it impossible for you to meet your obligations, so it is important to know what to do if the worst should happen.

Document Everything

Losing a job through no fault of your own most commonly occurs in situations involving layoffs or a failing business. The family court system, in general, takes a much different view of a layoff than it would of you being fired for absenteeism or gross misconduct. It may not be possible, but if it seems that a layoff could possibly lie ahead, begin documenting any and all available information. Keep notes about potential closing dates, severance packages being offered, or even substantiated rumors. These type of records could prove important if you are eventually laid off and need to prove to the court that you were not fired.

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