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IL divorce lawyerDivorces in which children are involved require legal assistance in a different sense than other divorce cases. Most parents do not come to a custody decision without some disagreements. It is uncommon for both parents to share equal custody of their children. One parent is named the “custodial parent” since the child lives primarily under their roof. The other parent is known as the “non-custodial parent”. The non-custodial parent does not pay for things such as groceries, clothes, or the gas needed to drive the child around every day, they are often required to provide the custodial parent with a set amount of money on a monthly basis in order to compensate for these expenses. These payment amounts are determined by a variety of factors. These include income, bonuses, properties owned, and other forms of financial value owned by both parents. Continue reading to learn how child support payments are regulated based on each individual’s situation.

Unique Solutions to Difficult Situations

Most parents do not have the “American dream job” that pays six figures and has them working 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. In reality, Americans work a variety of different jobs resulting in numerous “gray areas” for child support payments. Some individuals have the child support payments deducted from their paycheck by their employer to avoid missed payments while others place the responsibility on their own shoulders on a month to month basis. Regardless of the method used, these payments are due monthly and legal action can be taken against anyone who withholds these funds. For those purposely withholding child support payments, their wages can be garnished. This means that the amount will be forcibly removed from their paycheck before the parent receives it, taking away their ability to miss or avoid payments.

Some employers have refused to withhold the child support amount from paychecks despite being ordered to by a court or requested by an employee. While this is not always the case, it is not uncommon. Under every state’s law, an employer must withhold the amount if ordered or requested to do so. If this is the case, the employer will receive a withholding notice notifying them of their obligation. If the employer still refuses to do so, they will be charged the amount personally.

Child support payments can be increasingly difficult for parents that have recently lost their job. While this situation may not be the fault of the unemployed parent, the finances are still owed each month. The best solution in cases like these is a request for a payment adjustment. Because child support payments are determined based on a parent’s income and financial state, it can be adjusted if the parent cannot afford to pay the original allotted amount. If this request is made, a court may require the individual to seek out an employment program to help truncate the amount of time spent paying a lower amount.

For those that are self-employed, regulating income is still possible. This will be done through the Internal Revenue Service. While it may not be possible to withhold income through their employer, there are other forms of withholding that exist. Liens are holds on property until the amount owed is paid. This can include revoking required licenses, securing liens on client payments or garnishing the parent’s bank account.

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Posted on in Child Support

b2ap3_thumbnail_child-support_20171102-005221_1.jpgIn nearly every divorce between parents, a child support order is part of the divorce settlement. This is the court order that requires one parent to make payments to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. It is not uncommon for a parent to be curious about how the support he or she pays is used, especially if it does not outwardly appear that the children are benefiting from these payments. If you suspect that your former spouse is not using your child support payments appropriately, talk to your lawyer about potentially modifying your child support order or parenting plan. Violating a court order is contempt of court, and if you can demonstrate that your former partner willingly violated his or her child support order, he or she can face legal consequences.

Child support covers a broad range of needs. Basically, it can be used to help with any costs your child incurs for your former spouse. These costs generally fall into the following categories:

Your Child’s Medical Needs

One parent is required to include the child on his or her healthcare insurance plan. If this parent is the one who receives child support, the money received can be used to help offset insurance costs like copays and premiums. Child support can also be used to cover a child’s uninsured medical needs, like the need for over-the-counter medication.

Your Child’s Day-to-Day Care

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFor both the custodial and noncustodial parent following a divorce or separation, understanding child support monetary arrangements is very important, as the arrangements affect both parties and the entire family, often for many years to come. From your personal financial standing and your ex-spouse’s paycheck to the everyday needs of your children, a child support order usually brings about significant financial changes for everyone involved.

How Long Does the Financial Obligation Remain in Effect?

In the state of Illinois, the lifespan of the financial assistance custodial parents receives child support depends on various factors. Generally, the state has some very clear guidelines that help clarify when child support officially ends. First, support is ordered until the youngest (or only) child reaches the age of eighteen or high school graduation, whichever last occurs, which is considered by Illinois law to be the legal age of emancipation. Second, the noncustodial parent may be required to make support payments for as long as it takes to pay off any past-due support. This means that even if the child reaches the age of emancipation, payments may still continue until all past-due support has been paid in full.

As the noncustodial parent ordered to pay support, when are you released from your duty? In short, each party's income, along with the number of children you have to support, will determine the amount you are required to pay, and you will be held responsible for those payments until your child is no longer a minor. An exception to this guideline is extended support, which may be ordered by the court in order to wait until the child graduates high school or turns nineteen. Any other exceptions or amendments must be clearly agreed upon in writing or addressed in the judicial order.

Additional Responsibility

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois child support lawyerBeing hit with the realization that you may be responsible for college expenses for your child on your own following your divorce can be an unsettling experience, especially when there are already so many other financial issues that must be addressed at the end of the marriage. Often, who will pay for your child’s college tuition is the very last thing on your mind in the midst of a separation. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can properly prepare to fund your child’s college education after you are divorced, beginning with tackling the subject in your divorce decree.

Law Changes that Affect College Financial Responsibility after Divorce

Since 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has evolved to clarify which costs actually qualify as expenses in the state of Illinois, and how those expenses should be handled between divorce parties in a court of law. For example, the newer version of the law includes the cost of up to five college applications in its educational expense standards, and puts a stop to any contributions made to college expenses when the student turns twenty-three years old, with certain exceptions, which must be deemed “good cause”. This means if you are required to contribute to college costs for your non-minor child, the expenses will be justified and limited.

What You Can Do

To ensure your child’s college costs are taken care of once your divorce is finalized, the work ideally begins before you begin the divorce process. This means addressing the issue early on in the decree with a clear, written agreement that takes a number of factors into account, including who will pay for what and at what time, as well as who will pay for the pre-college expenses that are incurred. These things can include standardized test courses and any relevant purchases, like books or other class supplies. Sit down with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and make a list of everything you expect, along with any concerns you have about the arrangement.

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinois child support laws, Illinois family law attorneyUndergoing divorce can be a taxing experience for everyone involved, and adding the task of arranging child support obligations to the mix inevitably adds more pressure to both parents. Under even the most civil of circumstances, it is easy for parents to take offense to the other’s reaction to child support payments, and for the obligated parent to feel burdened by the financial strain the support order entails. Once a proper support order is established, however, there is opportunity for everything to run effectively and efficiently, so long as each party cooperates.

The parent who is granted a majority of the parenting time is usually the parent awarded child support payments. If you are a non-custodial parent responsible for making child support payments, the state of Illinois provides you the following options to ensure you are able to pay on time and in full:

Pay the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) by Mail

Unless you are directed otherwise, you are obligated to pay support via check by sending payment directly to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit. You are required to provide the following details along with your payment: Your name, social security number, case number, and the Illinois court where the order was entered.

Electronic Payments

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor some couples facing marital troubles, divorce as a solution is a last resort and legal separation is the first course of action. There are countless reasons you or your spouse might not be ready to call it quits just yet, and legal separation allows you time to assess the damage and decide whether or not divorce is the right choice.

How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

Like divorce, legal separation is a legal action that officially deems you both separated in the eyes of the law. However, legal separation is a term and is not an actual divorce. According to the law, you are still married and may not marry other people. Your property and possessions are not divided up unless you ask the court to divide those things for you. The court can decide other things with a legal separation, such as child support, parenting time (visitation), and allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).

To qualify for legal separation in Illinois, you must have been living in the state for at least 90 days, not be “at fault” for the separation, and must be physically living apart from your spouse. “At fault” is defined by many things, including adultery and abandonment. Filing for legal separation does not prevent you from filing for a divorce later on, should you decide to end the marriage entirely.

Legal Separation Can Be Beneficial

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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are a divorcing parent in the midst of arranging child support, chances are you are also juggling to manage other parent-child issues that come with separation, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). The child support you receive is important for the mere fact that it enables you to care for your children after the divorce, but it can also have an impact on your lifestyle with your children as a whole once the family transition is completed.

Receiving a just and reasonable amount of support can ease tension between you and your spouse, which can mean more peaceful interaction during custody and visitation exchanges. In general, the smoother the child support process goes, the better chance you have at experiencing a smoother transition all together. So, how does the state calculate child support amounts? Which factors are considered when determining those amounts?

Here is a basic breakdown of how child support amount is determined:

The decision first depends on the noncustodial parent’s net income plus the amount of children they are to support. Illinois statutory guidelines require the minimum net income, as follows:

  • One child - 20 percent;
  • Two children - 28 percent;
  • Three children - 32 percent;
  • Four children - 40 percent;
  • Five children - 45 percent; and
  • Six or more children - 50 percent.

The court also considers the best interest of the child as a whole, and in some cases, these factors can cause the percentages to deviate from the dictated guidelines above. For example, the court considers all of the following when setting the percentage amount:

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois paternity lawsYou may have heard the term parentage used to discuss laws that concern parenting in the world of family law. Parentage laws are also known as paternity laws, and they have continued to evolve in the state of Illinois in order to more accurately reflect and meet the needs of diverse families.

Although the laws change, their purpose and the concept behind them remains the same: Paternity laws exist to govern and protect parents and their rights, as well as the rights of the children and family as a whole. Some issues that Illinois parentage laws touch on include the following:

  • College expenses in child support;
  • Civil unions and gender neutrality;
  • Same-sex adoptions; and
  • DNA testing and its potential effect on the child.

Paternity Protects the Child and Parent

The paternity laws the state has in place are there to protect the best interest of the child and the parent. Paternity is a word used to describe a legal relationship between a father and his child. When two parents are unmarried and a child is conceived between the two of them, this sometimes leads to various disputes once they decide to separate or marry someone else. If paternity is not properly established, the rights of the father and the child are at stake. Without legal paternity establishment, the following issues arise:

  • The father’s name will not be on the child’s birth certificate;
  • Important family medical information may be inaccessible; and
  • The child may not receive the range of benefits they are entitled to, including inheritance, veterans, and social security benefits, as well as basic financial and medical support.

Establishing Paternity

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinios child support laws, Illinois family law attorneyNavigating the world of divorce can be tricky, especially when you are attempting to understand your rights and working to ensure the children you share with your spouse are properly provided for after the separation. You have many tasks to sort out, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

While these factors are crucial to setting up the guidelines and boundaries for your family’s new lifestyle post-divorce, filing for child support is one of the most important processes you will encounter as you wade through the transition. Filing for child support allows you to secure and maintain consistent, dependable funds for your family’s care.

Here are some common concerns you might have as the custodial or non-custodial parent:

1. Where Does the Money Come from?

Illinois generally collects child support funds from the noncustodial parent’s employer. Pay is deducted directly via income withholding. The law allows the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to withhold a certain income dollar amount on a continual basis, including any dollar amount to account for past-due support, until it is paid in full.

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinios child support lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFiling for child support can feel like just another task to pile on top of the already overwhelming divorce process. As a newly single parent, you face the challenges of caring for your children in the midst of the separation, and understandably, you want to make sure they continue to be provided for despite the changing circumstances.

Here are some common questions you might have as you begin to file for child support in Illinois:

How Can I Locate the Non-Custodial Parent?

For some divorcing parents, circumstances might arise that prevent you from knowing the whereabouts of the other parent. This can mean a lot of unease when it comes to seeking child support, but thankfully, locating the non-custodial parent is one of the services the state can offer you. They can also help confirm paternity, as well.

What Is a Typical Hearing Like?

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorneyDivorce is a daunting, emotionally draining process for anyone, but when children are involved, the additional task of seeking and obtaining child support adds a whole other element of stress to a couple’s plate. As a parent undergoing divorce, you want to make sure your children have everything they need to thrive and succeed while ensuring your family’s best interests are protected in wake of the separation.

The Facts

The state of Illinois has laid out some clear, helpful instructions for parents who need to apply for child support, and state assistance in this area is efficient and plentiful. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, here are some facts that will help acquaint you with the process:

  • Child support services are offered to children who live both in and outside of Illinois state;
  • Parents applying for child support are not required to receive public assistance;
  • The Department of Healthcare and Family Services can help establish paternity for your child or help locate the non-custodial parent, if needed; and
  • Child support services are provided by Illinois state at no cost to you.

Securing Financial Support

One of the biggest worries parents have when preparing to seek child support is wondering whether or not financial assistance can be obtained and then reliably sustained over a period of time. The good news is the state has many methods to ensure financial support is collected and that the rules for collection are enforced.

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