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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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modification, Lombard child support lawyersWhether you make or receive court-ordered payments of child support, you probably realize how much your children depend upon compliance with the order. As time goes by, however, an order may become out of sync with your child’s needs or your own financial situation. Fortunately, Illinois law provides several scenarios in which a modification of a child support order may be appropriate.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

Assuming that you pay child support, dramatic changes in your life or the life of your child can, obviously, affect your ability to make payments or the amount of support needed to truly help your child. For example, if you are injured in car accident, you may not be able to work for a time, making compliance with your support nearly impossible. Similarly, if your child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, he or she may require additional support to help subsidize medical treatment. According to the law, a child support order can be reviewed for modification "upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances."

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child support, Lombard family law attorneyIn what many are calling the largest ruling of its kind in the state’s history, a judge in Cook County has awarded a Flossmoor woman nearly $2.3 million in penalties payable by her ex-husband’s former employer. The court found that the employer—a Herscher car dealership—should have been withholding child support payments from the man’s paycheck but failed to do so. The dealership tried to claim that the man was an independent contractor and not an employee, but the court disagreed.

Income Withholding Notices

According to the law in Illinois, when a person is required to pay child support, his or her employer must be notified and served with an income withholding notice, unless there is a court-approved alternate agreement between the parties on record. The notice must include the employee’s information and the amount that is to be withheld from each paycheck. Once the employer has received the income withholding notice, it is the employer’s legal responsibility to withhold the correct amount the forward the funds to the State Disbursement Unit so they can be distributed to the parent receiving support. Failure to comply with the notice can leave the employer subject to fines of up to $100 per day.

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sharing expenses, Lombard family law attorneysAs technology continues to impact more and more aspects of daily living, it is hardly surprising that digital connectivity can now help facilitate financial discussions and even transactions between divorced parents. A new smartphone app called SupportPay is trying to the change the way that co-parents communicate about child support and sharing expenses, and developers hope that those use it can reduce uncertainty and prevent unnecessary hostility.

Basic Child Support

The law in Illinois typically requires a supporting parent to pay a percentage of his or her income to the other parent to assist with the child’s most basic needs. While many parents make child support payments via payroll deduction, others make monthly or biweekly payments on their own. SupportPay allows parents to make and manage their required payments through PayPal.

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college, Arlington Heights family law attorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, there are plenty of pressing matters that require your immediate attention, especially if you are a parent. You will need to decide who gets to keep which assets, establish if there is need for spousal maintenance, allocate parental responsibilities, and develop a workable parenting time schedule. For most divorcing parents, the issue of child support must also be determined, usually based on the supporting parent’s income and the needs of the family and child at the time of the divorce. It is very easy, however, for many parents to fail to look ahead to providing for their child’s college education, particularly if the child is still young. By planning early, you and your spouse can have a better understand of what may lie ahead.

Some, All or None

As part of your divorce settlement, you and your spouse can address how, if at all, you intend to help your child pay for college or other post-school education. You can agree in advance that together, you will assist your child in paying for school, even going so far as to develop a specific savings or contribution plan. Likewise, you may decide that one of you will be responsible for footing the entire bill. Finally, your family’s financial situation may be such that you are unlikely to be able to afford paying for your child’s post-secondary education, and your agreement may reflect that determination.

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Posted on in Divorce

college savings plans, Arlington Heights child support lawyerIf you are going through a divorce or anticipating one, it is no secret that the financial considerations can be the most difficult to make, after emotional fallout and childcare arrangements. There are several different financial aspects that a couple must take into consideration when considering divorce, and they are not always things that are in the immediate forefront of your attention. The idea of selling a family home and splitting assets such as retirement funds and 401k plans may be obvious, but there are other financial concerns that must be addressed as well, even if they will not immediately affect either spouse. One of these is what to do about a child’s college education plan.

Save Up for Your Child&s College Fund

If you began saving for your child’s college education as early as birth, this could be even more difficult to begin to sort out. It is not only the money that you had already put away that is in question either, but also who will bear the brunt of the financial burden in the future even that your child goes to school, whether you had put away savings for it or not. Who will save for a child’s college education can and should be considered at the onset of divorce. It is not impossible, just as it is not impossible to co-parent, to co-share money toward a common goal.

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child support, christmas presents, Illinois family law attorneysWhen you receive child support payments from your child’s other parent, you and your child may come to rely on those funds to help provide basic necessities. If you are fortunate enough, a missed payment here and there will not cause a major financial crisis. Depending upon your situation, though, a single missed payment could cause you to be unable to pay the rent or to miss a utility bill deadline. But what happens when your child’s other parent shows up with Christmas presents this year instead of making his ordered payment?

Child Support Calculations

Under Illinois law, an order for child support is based on the net income of the supporting parent and the number of children being supported. Variations are permitted based on your family’s individual circumstances, but, in general, the considerations are the same. Most orders for support require the supporting parent or an employer on the parent’s behalf to submit payments to the State Disbursement Unit for proper documentation and allocation to the residential parent. This is how the state is able to keep track of the supporting parent’s compliance.

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child support, right to support, Arlington Heights family law attorneyWhile divorce is certainly a commonly addressed area of family law, issues of child support are even more common. In order for a couple to get divorced, they must have already been married. Child support, on the other hand, is not dependent upon a legal relationship between the parents. Instead, it is based on provisions in the law codifying the moral obligation of a parent to contribute to his or her child’s well-being. Legislating a parent’s love and attention is obviously not possible, but the state does have the authority to enforce financial obligations, which it may do through orders for child support.

Right of the Child, Not the Parent

In most situations involving divorced, separated, or unmarried parents, one parent is designated as having primary residential responsibility for child. This generally means that the parent is responsible for enrolling the child in school, as well as providing for a majority of the child’s basic day-to-day needs. When child support is ordered, it is typically the primary residential parent who receives the payments on behalf of the child.

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child support, non-payment, Lombard family law attorneysWhen you are granted primary physical custody of your child, you assume responsibility for a number of concerns related to his or her well-being. Your address is used as the child’s primary address for legal purposes and school registration, in addition to you taking on the role of primary parent for many day-to-day activities. If you and the other parent have been granted joint legal custody, the other parent may assist you in making decisions and spend significant time with the child, but will often be ordered to contribute financially to the support of the child by means of a child support order.

Illinois Child Support

In the state of Illinois, the court may require that either or both parents pay child support, but, in practice, the parent who is not granted primary physical custody is generally required to provide support. Under state law, the amount to be paid is based on a percentage of the paying parent’s net income, sometimes adjusted for circumstantial factors of the family situation.

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child support modification, support orders, Illinois family law attorneyLaws in every state around the country require a parent to contribute to the support of his or her child, regardless of the relationship with the other parent. In many cases, a formal order requiring financial child support from one or both parents may be necessary and appropriate. As family situations and the needs of the child change, however, the terms of an existing arrangement may need to be updated. For this reason, Illinois law permits parents to seek modifications of a child support order.

Existing Child Support Orders

An order of child support is entered by the court on the basis of considerations that exist at the time of the proceeding. Illinois law, in addition to providing an income-based guideline for calculating the amount to be paid, requires the court to look at a number of circumstantial factors related to the child’s needs and the needs and resources of each parent. The court is tasked with balancing such factors in such a way that creates a sustainable support order that provides for the child while considering the parents’ financial situation and requirements.

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child support, support orders, Illinois Family Law AttorneyThe state of Illinois, like every state, maintains under law that every child is entitled to the financial support of both parents, regardless of the relationship between them. Payment of child support is taken very seriously in the state and failure to meet ordered support obligations can result in significant penalties and wage garnishment. Understanding how the court system calculates expected child support requirement can significantly help a parent better prepare for the challenges ahead.

If you have a child and are divorced from or were never married to the child&s other parent, the law provides the possibility that you may be responsible for paying support. Statutorily, the state may require that both parents pay child support, but for practical purposes, the non-custodial or non-residential parent is most often the only obliged payor. As a non-custodial parent, it is likely that you will be ordered to pay support for your child or children.

Calculation of Support

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois child supportDivorcing your spouse can be difficult. Divorcing your spouse when you have children together can be exponentially more difficult. Separating parents must consider the effects the process may have on their children and how life may be different post-divorce. Arrangements for custody, visitation, and support of the children need to be negotiated and sometimes litigated. While custody and visitation agreements may differ greatly due the circumstances unique to each family, Illinois law provides a guideline that courts are expected to follow when deciding and calculating child support.

Who Pays Support?

Under Illinois law, the court may require one or both parents "to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct." The law allows for the possibility that the child may reside with someone other than a parent after the divorce, but, in practice, the court will typically require the non-residential or non-custodial parent to pay child support.

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child custodyA recent survey revealed that more and more Americans are not waiting to get married before they begin to have children. This trend is especially growing among college educated adults. But having a child out-of-wedlock may raise several legal issues that could need to be addressed.

Out of 9,000 adults between the ages of 26 to 31 years of age, more than 50 percent of the women were mothers. Of that number, 64 percent had at least one child out-of-wedlock, and almost half had all of their children out-of-wedlock. The statistics for men in the group were very similar to the women.

Unmarried parents who have children together may find themselves facing several family law issues that they did not anticipate, including paternity, child custody and support. In this state, Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 established the rules for children born to unwed parents.

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Posted on in Child Support

coparenting togetherWhen getting divorced from your spouse, you may be relieved, thinking, "Thank goodness I will never have to deal with this person again!" This is especially true if you were involved in a high-conflict marriage. However, if you and your spouse have children together, you will always have to interact with each other on some level. Beyond childhood and adolescence are college graduations, weddings and grandchildren.

Making the decision now to resolve to calmly deal with your spouse will not only make it emotionally easier for you, but more importantly, will go a long way in helping your children adjust to the divorce. Co-parenting together in agreement and without conflict offers children a more stable and happier life.

Following the 10 Commandments of co-parenting could help you and your ex-spouse reach co-parenting peace:

  1. Never put your child in the middle of conflicts between you and your ex-spouse. Remember to put your child’s need first, even if that means a compromise on your part. If you do have an issue with the other parent, try to resolve it quickly instead of letting it fester.
  2. Always treat the other parent with respect. This not only teaches your child by example, but may also open the door of reciprocation by the other parent, leading to better co-parenting.
  3. Accept that there will be different rules at the other parent’s home than you have. As long as your child is not being harmed emotionally or physically, then accept the fact that it really is "none of your business."
  4. Make sure to communicate with the other parent on a consistent basis about school and other activities that your child is involved in.
  5. If there is a problem between you and the other parent, try to resolve it instead of hiding it. You child is probably already aware of the issue, and hiding it, instead of dealing with it, could have a negative impact.
  6. Remember that you and the other parent both want what is best for your child and should be working together. Have periodically discussions about what each other’s needs are from each other to ensure you both are feeling good about your parenting.
  7. Try to share parenting responsibilities as equally as you can, otherwise resentments can build up. Not only is it not fair to the parent who is shouldering the majority of responsibility, but it is not fair to the child either.
  8. It is important to be consistent with your child when it comes to rules and lifestyles. Transitioning from one parent’s home to the other can be difficult for children, but knowing what to expect from each parent makes that transition easier on the child and the parents.
  9. It is very important for children to be able to celebrate parents’ birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other significant events. Help your child pick out gifts and/or cards to present to the other parent.
  10. Do not keep your former in-laws away from your child. They are still your child’s grandparents and not allowing visits with them will hurt your child the most.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what the best options may be for you and your child.
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