IL divorce lawyerThe USDA estimates that it costs over $230,000 to raise a child from birth until age 18. If you are expecting a child and you are not married to the child’s father, you may have concerns about how you will pay for child-related expenses like housing and child care. Child support is a valuable source of financial assistance that parents are entitled to by law. If you are an unmarried mother, it is essential that you take the steps to ensure that you and your child will have the financial resources you need.

How Can I Get Child Support in Illinois?

In Illinois, the terms “child custody” and “visitation” have been replaced by the terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Parenting time refers to the days that a parent is responsible for caring for his or her child. The parent with the majority of the parenting time, formerly called the custodial parent, is the recipient of child support and the parent with less parenting time is the payor. If your child’s father and you agree that you should have the majority of the parenting time, you will create a parenting plan stating this agreement and describing other child-related arrangements. This plan is submitted to the court. You will then be able to petition the court for child support. The amount of child support that you will receive will largely depend on the difference between your income and the father’s income.

You Must Establish Paternity Before You Can Receive Child Support

You cannot petition the court for child support until you have established paternity. This means that you take steps to establish the child’s biological father as the child’s legal father. The simplest way to establish paternity is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at the hospital where the child is born. If the father denies his parentage or refuses to sign the VAP, the process becomes more complicated. In this case, one option is to pursue an administrative paternity order through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). DNA testing may be needed to establish the biological relationship between the father and the child. You may also be able to establish paternity through the court. The court will schedule a paternity hearing that both parents are expected to attend. If the father fails to attend the court hearing or administrative paternity hearing, he may be declared the father by default.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

If you are a single parent, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure that you receive the financial support you need. For help establishing paternity, petitioning the court for child support, resolving child custody disagreements, and much more, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced St. Charles family law attorney by calling our office at 630-584-5550 today.

 

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IL divorce lawyerAs the saying goes, the only thing constant in life is change. If you are a divorced or unmarried parent subject to a child support order, changes in your life or the life of the other parent may necessitate a child support modification. However, Illinois child support orders can only be modified under certain situations. Read on to learn about when child support orders are eligible for modification and what you should do if you need to request a child support adjustment.

Modifying an Existing Child Support Order Through a Modification Review

Child support orders established by a judicial proceeding may only be changed through a court order. Administrative child support orders may be modified through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). Every three years, child support orders are eligible for a “modification review” by the DCSS. If a parent wishes to take advantage of this opportunity, they will be asked to submit documents verifying their income. This information is used to determine whether or not the parents’ financial circumstances have changed significantly enough to warrant a child support modification. The dollar amount of child support payments may remain the same, increase, or decrease. If a parent disagrees with the results of the modification review, he or she has the right to request an administrative hearing or appear in court to contest the child support order.

Changing a Child Support Based on a “Substantial Change in Circumstances”

If you are not eligible for a modification review, you may still be able to change your child support order if the current order does not adequately provide for the child’s healthcare needs or if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.”

Examples of substantial changes in circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • The child’s financial needs have increased due to school or extracurricular expenses, medical issues, or another valid reason
  • Either parent’s income has considerably increased or decreased
  • Either parent has lost his or her job
  • The child has turned 18 and graduated from high school
  • There has been a change in the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities

Contact a St. Charles Child Support Modification Lawyer

Many parents find that they run into significant obstacles, complications, or delays when trying to modify a child support order. At Shaw Family Law, P.C, we help parents with a wide range of complex family law issues. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Kane County child support attorney from our firm, call us at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL family lawyerWhen a couple with children divorces, child support is often ordered to ensure that the child receives financial support from both of his or her parents. Child support can be a major expense in the paying parent’s life as well as a valuable resource for the recipient parent. If you are a divorcing parent who already has a child support obligation from a previous relationship, you may be concerned about how any additional child support requests will be handled. Read on to learn about how child support is calculated in Illinois when the parent has multiple obligations.

Income Shares Method for Calculating Child Support

Illinois child support orders entered after July 1, 2017 are calculated based on the Income Shares model. Instead of child support being based entirely on the payor parent’s income, this calculation method takes into account both of the parent’s incomes. In order to determine the amount of child support that a parent pays, the court combines both parent’s net income and then uses a statutory formula to determines the total amount of support for which both parents are collectively responsible. This total is called the “basic child support obligation.” The basic child support obligation is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s income. If each parent has the child for at least 146 nights a year, this is called a shared parenting arrangement. Because both of the parents are responsible for a large percentage of the total parenting time, the child support obligation is reduced in cases involving shared parenting. The courts may deviate from the Income Shares formula if doing so is in the child’s best interests.

What is Included in a Parent’s Net Income?

The income that is used for child support calculations is the parents’ net income. This means that the income is calculated by subtracting taxes and other expenses from the parent’s gross income. Any previous child support obligations or spousal support obligations are also deducted from the gross income. For example, if a father has a monthly net income of $4,500 and he currently pays $1,000 in child support, any new child support obligations would be calculated using an estimated net income of $3,500.

Contact a Kane County, Illinois Child Support Attorney

Juggling multiple child support obligations can be challenging. For help establishing, enforcing, or modifying child support in Illinois, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Whether you are the payor of child support or the recipient, our St. Charles family law attorneys will ensure that your rights are protected. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a consultation.

 

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IL divorce lawyerIllinois child support payment amounts are typically based on the “Income Shares” model. This model uses each parent’s net income, the amount of parenting time each parent is responsible for, and a specially designed formula to determine how much child support an obligor parent must pay. However, this child support calculation method may not be reasonable or appropriate in certain circumstances. Illinois law gives courts the option to deviate from the Income Shares guidelines if the court finds that a deviation is in the best interests of the child.

Child Support Calculations

By law, Illinois courts must follow the Income Shares guidelines for determining child support unless the court finds that a deviation would be more beneficial to the child. Courts consider the following factors when determining whether or not to deviate from the guidelines:

  • The child’s financial resources
  • The child’s physical and emotional wellbeing
  • The needs of the child including his or her educational needs
  • The parents’ income, assets, and financial needs
  • The standard of living the child would most likely have experienced if his or her parents were married

If you or your child’s other parent has a very high income or other special circumstances that may necessitate a deviation from the Income Shares child support calculation method, contact an experienced family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you petition the court to disregard the usual calculation method and instead make a child support determination that takes into consideration your unique situation.

Modifying an Existing Child Support Order

Life is constantly changing and sometimes parents need to adjust their child support order to reflect those changes. In Illinois, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services gives parents the right to request a child support modification review every three years. During the modification review, the court evaluates the parents’ financial circumstances and other information in order to determine whether or not the child support order should be adjusted. Parents may also be granted a child support modification if a “substantial change in circumstances” necessitates the modification or if the child support order deviates from the Income Shares guidelines by more than 20 percent.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

Child support issues can be especially complex when one or both parents have a high income or other extenuating circumstances. For help establishing child support, enforcing a current child support order, modifying child support, and more, contact Shaw Family Law. Set up a free initial consultation with an accomplished St. Charles family law attorney by calling our office at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL family lawyerResearch shows that the total cost of raising a child into adulthood averages over $230,000. If you are an unmarried or divorced parent, you may understandably struggle to make ends meet without support from the other parent. Children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children, regardless of if the parents are married. This is why Illinois law requires many divorced and unmarried parents to pay child support. Unfortunately, some parents to do not take this essential obligation seriously. If your child’s other parent has not been paying his or her fair share of child support, he or she could face major consequences including wage garnishment and more.

Establishing Child Support in Illinois

Casual child support agreements between parents cannot be enforced by Illinois courts. In order for your child’s other parent to be legally mandated to pay child support, you will need to formally establish child support through the court system. The court will determine the amount of child support based on each parent’s income and assets, the amount of parenting time each parent is assigned, the child’s needs, and other factors. It is important to note that child support orders can only be entered once paternity has been formally recognized. If your child’s biological father is not paying child support and he is not the legal parent of your child, you will need to first establish paternity before you can start receiving child support.

Nonpayment of Court-Ordered Child Support

Court-ordered child support payments are mandatory. Special circumstances may qualify some parents for a reduced child support obligation through a child support modification. However, a parent cannot refuse to pay child support simply because he or she does not want to. If you already have a court order for child support and your child’s other parent is not fulfilling his or her obligation, he or she can face serious consequences including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Garnishment of bank accounts
  • Interception of state and federal tax refunds
  • Property liens
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation and
  • Possible jail time

If your child’s other parent is not making support payments in full and on time, a qualified family lawyer can help you enforce your child support order through the court.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand how vital financial assistance from child support is to a single parent. If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, we will help you take the steps to get you the financial support you and your child need. Whether you want to establish paternity, start child support for the first time, or enforce an existing child support order, we are here for you. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled St. Charles family law attorney from our firm by calling 630-584-5550 today.

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