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Illinois social services, Illinois family law attorneyNon-custodial parents (also referred to as NCPs) face a number of challenges during big family transitions such as divorce. Whether you are in an unmarried partnership or are getting ready to go through a divorce or legal separation, if you share a child with someone, chances are you might run into some roadblocks as you navigate the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).

Parenting Time

Parenting time (also known as visitation) is an important part of building and maintaining a healthy relationship with your child. As a part of the divorce process, it is very common for couples to disagree on lifestyle arrangements for their children. For example, disagreements can arise about everything from religious upbringing and school choices to which parent gets to spend time with the child and how often. Typically, parents work with an attorney, the state, and a mediator to put together a parenting plan, which establishes the groundwork for all these issues and creates guidelines for how the child will be brought up following the separation. This is especially helpful for the child, as it provides structure and encourages a safe, stable environment for them after their parents’ relationship ends. Never-married couples having trouble seeing their children also have options for managing their parenting time. The state’s Access and Visitation Program can help with mediation, counseling, enforcement of visitation orders, and much more.

Financial Struggles

It is not uncommon for newly single parents to struggle financially after a divorce or the end of a relationship. This can make it difficult to provide for yourself as a parent as well as continue to provide for your child and family. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) offers a variety of employment and training programs for non-custodial parents needing assistance in this area. Supervised job searches that utilize structured job search activities as well as something called the “Earnshare” program exist to support NCPs with resources and tools that can help them earn and provide for themselves and their children. Earnshare is a state sponsored program that offers paid on-the-job employment training and is typically referred by the Court and other administrative sources.

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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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Illinios family law attorney, Illinois child support lawyerWhen it comes to seeking and securing child support for divorcing families, there is a lot Illinois can do to ensure parents receive the financial assistance they need. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services can implement an Income Withholding Notice to require the non-custodial parent to pay funds consistently and in a timely manner, as well as locate the non-custodial parent and confirm paternity, if necessary. If child support payments fall behind or if the non-custodial parent fails to pay, the DHFS may even exercise its right to suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license, revoke their professional license(s), or place a lien on their personal property.

McMahon Cracks Down

Despite these efforts to obtain child support funds, there are still voids that need to be filled. Many single parents must rely on state funding and local social service providers to fill the gaps. Sadly, it’s been some time since there’s been a state budget to fund these collection efforts. Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon is doing everything in his power to turn this around and fight for the funds that Kane County parents so desperately need. His goal is to earn as many dollars as possible to reduce single parents’ reliance on state assistance programs.

While the county’s child support division is funded by a combination of both state and federal funds, the unit has not received money from either since last summer. With no state budget and the division operating at a deficit on a continual basis, Kane County is being forced to put new plans into place to address the problem head on.

McMahon’s strategy includes asking county officials for an emergency loan. This is by no means a long-term solution, but will potentially put some pressure on Kane County taxpayers to help fund the unit’s collection efforts. McMahon is also willing to consider suing the state in order to hold it accountable to its part of the deal. He plans to meet with county board members to talk about possible litigation against the state in the near future.

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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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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorneyAs of the of January 1, 2016, Illinois law refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The concept behind the term child custody still remains the same, however. Divorcing parents work together with the court and an attorney to create new lifestyle arrangements for their children and determine who is responsible for making what decisions for them. The agreements include everything from where the child will live, who they will live with, and how the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and religious practices will be managed.

Asking for Parental Responsibilities

The filing process for allocation of parental responsibilities will vary from county to county, but throughout Illinois you can expect to go through the following steps:

  • Obtain legal representation and file the petition;
  • Make an appointment for a case management conference (This must be done no later than 90 days after you file the petition); and
  • Serve the other parent the filed petition with a summons.

After you complete the initial first stages of the process, you await a response from the other parent. If they fail to respond, the next step is to ask the court for a default judgement.

Create a Parenting Plan That Suits Your Family’s Needs

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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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Illinois child custody laws, Illinios family law attorneyWhen you lose an allocation of parental responsibilities case, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child. However, there are many things you can do to increase your time with your child. It often starts with maintaining a positive relationship with the other parent. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you do not have a vital role to play in your child’s life.

Right of First Refusal

Under Illinois law, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before the child is put in daycare, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.

This situation can benefit everyone involved. You and the child get to spend more time together, and the other parent saves on childcare costs. This arrangement works best when the two parents have an amicable relationship and both parents are willing to be flexible and put the needs of their child first.

Sharing Carpool and Taxi Duties

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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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