Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThere is nothing easy about the process of blending families after divorce, but thankfully the task is possible with the right approach, direction, and support. Today, more than ever, divorce rates continually illuminate the reality that for many couples,the challenge to merge families after remarriage is incredibly common. Countless people must find ways to come together and recreate their lives post-divorce with their existing children, as well as adjust to any new additions to the family.

Setting Up for Success

As you and your family begin to immerse yourself in a new routine and lifestyle, The American Psychological Association suggests the following to help ensure a healthy transition as you work to blend both families together:

Be clear about financial and living arrangements - Between the time after divorce and a new marriage or live-in partnership, individuals establish their own new routines and practices, including how they handle money and where they choose to live. Once a new marriage is imminent or a new partner is about to move in, those key areas must be revisited and reevaluated. This is especially important when children are involved. The APA encourages adults to discuss and plan how they will spend their money and what their living arrangements will be beforehand, in order to prepare the entire family for any impending changes.

Be patient with new parenting integration - Becoming a parent to your new partner’s child is intimidating, but the key is to take things slow. Do not force yourself on the child. Instead of attempting to assume an instant parental role, first try to become a friend or mentor. The APA has reported research that reveals that adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 tend to have the most difficult time adjusting to new stepfamilies. Research has also shown that children prefer to have verbal affection rather than physical closeness from their new stepparent. Compliments are much better received than hugs or kisses.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyWhile countless studies have shown that life following a divorce often leads to higher depression rates, more stress, and overall dissatisfaction, those who spend a prolonged period of time in an unhappy marriage to begin with tend to thrive once the marriage is over. Experts have a number of theories for this, most notably the idea that the benefits of leaving behind an emotionally exhausting (and in many cases, emotionally or physically abusive) marriage usually end up outweighing the disadvantages.

Increasing Your Chances of Success

Examining the overall quality of a marriage before calling it quits is important in the overall outcome for each party. Once you’ve decided it is in your best interest to end the marriage, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chances of enjoying a fulfilling, balanced post-divorce life. Channel your energy into the following three areas after the split to ensure a healthier, happier lifestyle:

Finances - Although the divorce process is undeniably an emotional struggle, it can also be incredibly challenging where your finances are concerned. Spending adequate time doing an evaluation of your money matters prior to the divorce and directly afterward can make a world of difference in the quality of your life once the separation is official. This is an important step in creating a secure financial foundation for your future. Do your best to assess debts, a savings goal if your existing savings plan is minimal or nonexistent, and work with a professional attorney to understand the value of your assets.

Family Plans - Divorce can be especially traumatizing for children in the family, which is why it is so important to talk about, create, and follow through with a proper parenting plan once the divorce is final. You can reduce your stress and your child’s stress by establishing routines, making time for fun quality time, and ensuring everyone understands visitation arrangements.

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Illinois child support lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyFor many divorced parents, arranging a child support order can be a challenging process. While state programs and public assistance offer a reasonable amount of help, parents can often be at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining an order and ensuring the payment conditions are met. This is especially the case for high-conflict couples who struggle with communication, anger, and hurt following their divorce. It can be difficult for the custodial parent to know where to turn as they pursue child support, especially when they are unfamiliar or confused about the laws that surround it, and the non-custodial parent can feel overwhelmed and unclear on the control and distribution of their funds.

When Are You Eligible to Request Modifications to an Existing Order?

Once you have done all the footwork and have secured a proper child support order, you may find you need to make changes to that existing order, depending on a number of different circumstances. The court usually looks at two factors in particular when determining whether or not your order is eligible for modification:

  • Non-custodial parent income changes - In most cases, you can request a modification review if the non-custodial parent’s income has significantly increased or decreased. The revised order can reflect the changes in income and any other financial factors that may have changed since the original order went into effect. In general, families who receive public assistance typically receive a modification review every three years. If the supporting parent has lost their job or received a substantial raise, their order may be decreased or increased; and
  • Availability of health insurance - Along with financial changes, health insurance changes will be considered when determining whether or not a child support order can be modified. For example, if there is a health insurance lapse due to a gap in employment or financial hardship, the court may consider these factors. Any change in medical coverage that will affect the child’s medical care should be addressed and reflected in the support order.

General Modification Procedures

The process for changing your child support order may vary depending on whether you are working directly through the Illinois child support program or with a private attorney. Your order may be changed via judicial process or administrative process. Generally speaking, the state will conduct a review and may apply a cost-of-living adjustment. To identify which orders are eligible for review, the state may also use automated methods that assess wage and state income tax data to determine any necessary adjustments.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyMaintaining balance and ensuring a healthy lifestyle following divorce has been and continues to be a difficult challenge for many spouses as they undergo the separation process. Divorce is a multi-faceted emotional journey, affecting every part of our lives, and often impacts our children, social lives, and work lifestyles in significant measure.

While there have been many varying opinions from psychologists regarding the best ways to maintain balance and stay well following a divorce, one common theme seems to string all these theories together: Creating balance after a split requires deliberate focus and practice. Here are three practical tips for both creating and sustaining a healthy life balance once your marriage is over:

1. Keep up with your normal routine - People often find themselves in need of some time off after their divorce due to the emotional distress. Divorce undoubtedly takes a big mental toll on everyone involved, but some mental health experts actually endorse continuing your usual activities and routines, including your work schedule. Other experts feel that because divorce is a loss, we understandably grieve that loss, which fuels the need - and desire - to take a break from work, social obligations, and hobbies. However you decide to recover from your separation, it is helpful to scale certain activities back without giving up your routines entirely. Attempt to find a happy medium and you have a better chance at achieving balance you can sustain long-term.

2. Make adjustments in the workplace - Just because you decide to minimize the time you take off from work after your divorce or completely bypass taking time off does not mean you cannot benefit from making adjustments in the workplace once your marriage is over. In fact, making certain adjustments may help you achieve much-needed post-divorce balance in other areas of your life, like your relationship with your children or with your physical health. It does not hurt to speak with your managers about potential scheduling changes, such as switching from morning shifts to evening shifts or telecommuting from home for a while, instead of quitting entirely or taking a prolonged period of time off. The key is to attempt adjustments at the office that will enhance the quality of your life after your divorce and ultimately create a healthier balance in your life as a whole.

3. Make quality time priority - Quality time with yourself, your kids, and other family members is key in creating a healthy life balance after an emotionally draining separation. Simple things can make a huge difference, such as sharing a meal with your children or treating yourself to a relaxing night in with your favorite movie. Make quality time just as much of a priority - and a routine - as your exercise routine or getting to work on time. When you do not neglect self-care, you will find more peace and a sense of stability in your life, which you really need following a separation.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois custody lawyerAs divorcing spouses work through the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) arrangements following their separation, there are a number of important areas parents must address in order to protect the best interests of the child. Everything from living and school arrangements to religious upbringing and financial agreements contribute to the production of a solid parenting plan that benefits the whole family.

To create custody and visitation plans that each party can agree on requires a significant amount of evaluation, however. According to Illinois law, the child’s best interests must first be considered to successfully identify which arrangements will work in the family’s favor. The court considers all the following factors when determining the child’s best interest:

Residential Circumstances

The distance between the parents’ houses, each parent’s daily schedule (as well as the child’s schedule), and the general logistics behind transporting the child to and from the parents’ homes are referred to as “residential circumstances” and are examined thoroughly when discussing the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Prior Agreements 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyBreaking up is always hard to do, no matter what time of year it may be. New studies from the University of Washington have recently revealed trends that show seasonal patterns in divorce rates. While some spouses decide to call it quits from the moment they agree their marriage is over, others decide to hold out in the hopes that maybe, with a little more effort - or more time - the marriage can potentially be salvaged before it’s too late.

Here is a snapshot of some common divorce trends that revolve around specific times of year:

Holidays are a big factor.

According to the data compiled by the University of Washington between November 2001 and December 2015, there are significant dips in divorce filings around the holidays, indicating that there is a good chance most couples prefer to announce their separation after the holidays have passed. This may especially be the case when children are involved. Co-author of this UW study, Associate Professor of Sociology, Julie Brines, believes some couples may choose to wait until after the holidays to file due to high expectations, fueled by the hope that things will get better during the holiday season. No one likes to drop the bad news as the holidays are approaching, after all.

Couples wait until after summer vacation to file.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerNo matter which way you slice it, there is nothing fun about the divorce process. Even under the most civil, loving circumstances, the actual split and all it entails can be emotionally - and financially- draining. One area most people do not like to think about but are confronted with very early on in the process is money. Regardless of how peaceful the separation, the subject of money can test anyone’s patience and place them on the defensive, especially when it involves their lifestyle and livelihood following the divorce.

When it comes time to protect your quality of life and all you are accustomed to at the end of your marriage, how you handle your assets is critical. Even the smallest mistake can cost you a lot when it is time to negotiate settlements, and if you’re not careful, some errors can continue to cost you long after the divorce is over.

Here are three ways you could end up hurting your assets and their value when you divorce:

1. Keeping joint accounts

One way you can do serious damage to your funds when you decide to separate is to keep all of your accounts connected. For example, if you and your spouse share checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, or a mortgage loan, having your name on any of those accounts makes you liable in the event something goes wrong. If your spouse misses a payment on your mortgage, you are held responsible. If you have money tucked away into a savings account and both your names are on the account, all it takes is one heated disagreement for your spouse to potentially drain the account of those funds. Close joint accounts and separate your finances now. Do not wait for the divorce to be finalized or until an argument surfaces, placing your money at risk.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerProtecting your finances as you prepare for the divorce process is perhaps one of the most important tasks you can take on before your marriage officially ends. Planning is everything, as divorce can easily wreak havoc on your financial standing if you are not careful. Protecting your assets and monetary funds is critical if you want to maintain the lifestyle you are currently accustomed to and ensure your financial future is secure.

Constructing a Game Plan

As a divorcing spouse, you are already facing an emotional toll; the last thing you want is to tack on additional stress due to financial trouble, especially when some of that trouble can be avoided if addressed early on. Here are some important steps you can take to safeguard your finances amidst your impending divorce:

Take inventory - As overwhelming as it might be, taking financial inventory is a must. Sit down and create a list of every account and asset you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You will need to take stock of joint accounts and pay special attention to lines of credit, as well as wills, retirement accounts, and any pending purchases or joint business investments. Also take note of any life insurance policies you opened up while with your spouse. You may wish to modify the policy if you had them listed as a beneficiary. Once you have a clear, thorough list of all your debts, accounts, and belongings, it is time to sit down with your spouse and speak civilly about what you would both like to see happen with each respective item on the list.

Establish your own credit - Whether you are at the beginning of the initial separation process, have a hunch that your marriage is on the rocks, or are diving straight into divorce, it is never too soon to try and establish your own line of credit. If you are on the verge of separating, you are at an advantage; the sooner you establish your own credit, the better off you will be post-divorce. This goes for standard bank accounts, as well. The moment you see your marriage coming to an end, start shuffling away some cash of your own. The divorce process itself costs money, and you will need funds to get by on your own afterward. This is imperative, especially if you have never lived alone or will be on your own for the first time in years.

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Posted on in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe decision to attend mediation to settle your divorce matters is a beneficial one. Couples have the option to discuss their post-divorce arrangements and come to settlement agreements in the presence of a professional mediator, who is trained to minimize conflict and help produce positive results for the entire family. Before you begin the negotiation process, though, it is important to address core issues that will be discussed during mediation. This will help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible and that you are not caught off-guard when it is time to reach an agreement.

Here are some key areas every couple should discuss in preparation of the mediation process:

Joint Accounts

Whether you share regular checking and savings accounts, vacation funds, or credit cards, it is important to take inventory of all your joint accounts and make sure you have copies of everything. This includes mortgage statements, wills, and trusts. If you are able to civilly discuss money matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse before mediation, it is helpful to do so, but if that is not an option, gather the financial records for yourself and wait to tackle the subject until your mediation conference.

Other Assets 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThe divorce process can trudge up a myriad of emotions and bring a lot of unresolved conflict to the surface, especially when you are getting down to the wire. The closer you get to the finish line, the more stressful the situation tends to be, as it is a taxing experience for everyone involved. Despite these common bumps in the road, many divorces run smoothly and end on a mutual, peaceful note. The entire process can prove to be a positive path for the whole family, as it often removes everyone from an unhealthy environment.

Even when you are fortunate enough to skim through a divorce without much tension, one area that can be significantly affected in the aftermath is your finances. This doesn’t mean your financial well-being needs to suffer, however. Here are three ways your divorce can affect your money and how to combat those changes so they don’t take a turn for the worst:

1. Tax Changes

When you divorce, the change must be reflected in your filing status. For example, if you are still married on December 31st, the IRS considers your status “married” even if you have been separated and the divorce is in progress. You can avoid needless trouble with the IRS by simply ensuring you choose the correct status. In short, couples cannot file a joint return for the year that their divorce decree became official.

If you have children, another area you will need to address is the Dependent Exemption. The spouse who is eligible to claim their child on the return is entitled to certain tax credit benefits, but you must meet specific requirements to claim this advantage. If your child resided with you longer than they resided with your ex-spouse during the tax year you are filing for, you might be eligible to claim the exemption. These details can be tricky, so it is important to work with a qualified accountant and attorney to properly address any questions and concerns when you file.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyNo one likes to think about the possibility of an impending divorce, especially after spending months or years investing time and energy into a relationship. It is not uncommon for one spouse to feel blindsided by the news that their partner is considering divorce, or to experience shock that there is even a problem to begin with. The reality, though, is the road to divorce often begins long before the final weeks and months of the marriage. There are numerous red flags that can signal the potential end - or the beginning of the end - of a marriage, and it can be easy to dismiss these signs early on if you are not tuned into the root issues.

Paying Attention to the Warning Signs

Whether you are newly married and have been feeling uneasy about your recent partnership or you have been married for years and are beginning to question your marriage’s foundation, if you are sensing something is amiss, it is wise to pay attention to your instincts. Even if things seem to be running smoothly in the moment, those unsettling feelings are often an indicator that trouble is brewing. These warning signs can morph into much larger problems down the road if not acknowledged early on.

Common Red Flags

Distance - Most red flags that signal imminent divorce typically revolve around something that is lacking in the marriage. Distance is a perfect example of this factor. Whether your relationship is lacking physical or emotional intimacy or your spouse is simply not around to share the most basic day-to-day moments that contribute to a life together, any distance, especially when it is a recurring pattern, is a sign that something is wrong.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_asset-division.jpgRegardless of how much or how little you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own, the division of assets in the divorce process can significantly impact your financial standing after your marriage is over. Whether you need to look out for your own well-being or you have additional family members to care for after the separation, money matters. What you and your spouse split and how you split it will be a defining factor in the overall quality of your long-term financial security.

Where Asset Division Can Get Tricky

Determining Value

Some couples make the mistake of believing that the most important factor in the division of assets is the flat dollar value. Whatever something is worth must determine its overall value and it should simply be divided evenly, right? This is not always the case. When it comes to most assets, their worth must be based on more than just their dollar value. For example, you must take into account factors such as an asset’s liquidity as well as how its sale will be affected by taxes. The long-term worth of a piece of property is just as important as its immediate worth.

Types of Property

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerDivorce can be overwhelming on its own, but adding the possible tax implications of divorce to the mix can definitely contribute to the stress of the process. You and your spouse have already decided to split. Your lifestyle, future, and any children you both share will be affected by the separation. Decisions must be made regarding filing the paperwork and how you will handle mediation or time in court. The last thing you are probably thinking about when you are ending your marriage is your taxes, but the reality is that your divorce does have the power to impact your taxes both during and after the transition.

Filing Status

The first factor you should be aware of is your filing status. For example, the “Head of Household” status typically provides a slight advantage to divorcing taxpayers, compared to the “Married Filing Single” or “Single” statuses, but certain requirements must be met to be considered head of the household, so you need to ensure you are in line with those requirements first.

When it comes to your status, the IRS determines which one you are eligible for based on where you stand come December 31st. If you are married on this date, the IRS considers you “married” for the entire year. The same idea applies if you are divorced on December 31st; if you are divorced on that specific day, then you are considered divorced for the whole year. What does all of this mean? In short, if you divorced by the 31st of December in any given year, then you are not eligible to file as a married person for that year’s taxes, and your filing status is an important factor in how much money you owe or receive when tax season arrives.

Claiming a Dependent

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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 divorce attorney, Illinois mediation attorneyCouples looking for a smooth, amicable divorce solution often turn to mediation to settle their differences and come to agreement on lifestyle arrangements following the end of their marriage. While it is true many divorces can take a turn and become messy, the bulk of them actually result in a peaceful, mutual split. It is not uncommon for this kind of separation to stem from a thorough, professional mediation process.

Why Do Amicable Divorces Benefit from Mediation?

Respect: Although mediation is typically pursued by couples who struggle with conflict resolution, those experiencing amicable divorces greatly benefit from the mediation process as well due to one simple factor: Both spouses are interacting in a civil manner. Couples who are already cooperating with one another and communicating peacefully are on the fast track to success when they enter mediation. The trained mediator can more effectively do their job to facilitate settlements and manage negotiations when both parties leave hostility and conflict at the door. If your divorce is mutual and you and your spouse are communicating with respect and patience, your meditation experience can be a positive, productive one.

Resolution timelines: The Illinois State Department of Human Rights reports that their Mediation Unit boasts a resolution rate of over 80 percent out of all conferences held. Mediation is proven to be a quick, efficient, and affordable process for divorcing couples. It is an especially fast process when you and your spouse enter mediation on amicable terms. The more common ground you share and the more civil you are, the faster you will reach an agreement and resolve your divorce case.

Similar expectations: Chances are, if you are entering mediation on civil terms, you likely already share similar expectations in regards to what you are looking to achieve and what you are looking to walk away with when the process is all said and done. Discussing goals and individual expectations before you begin the mediation process is a good way to increase your chances of success. If you want to resolve your conflicts quickly and relatively painlessly, consider making the effort to respect one another’s opinions, wants, and needs, and attempt to find a way to meet on middle ground.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois alimony attorneyAmong the many questions divorcing spouses have following a separation, questions regarding alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, tend to be a big concern. This is particularly true for stay-at-home parents or spouses who are not the main earners in the household. Taking on greater financial responsibility - or in some cases, any financial responsibility at all - can be a scary thing, especially when one spouse has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and is suddenly thrust into a new routine.

Alimony’s Nationwide Evolution

As societal roles and career opportunities have changed for both men and women in recent decades, so have the expectations and allowances surrounding spousal maintenance. More women are working now more than ever, and the concept of stay-at-home fathers is far from new. According to Labor Department statistics, nearly three-quarters of women work. In the year 2010, 97 percent of the 400,000 people receiving alimony were women, and that trend has been a continual one.

These statistics have revealed an important fact about alimony and its place in today’s post-divorce world: It seems the majority of alimony recipients continue to be women, but most of those women are actively involved in the workforce during the time of the marriage or become employed following the divorce. As a result, states all throughout the country have been taking these factors into consideration when determining maintenance awards in court rulings.

Is Spousal Maintenance a Sure Thing?

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Illinois adoption attorney, Illinois family law attorneySome hopeful parents plan to adopt for months, sometimes years, before they actually begin the official adoption process. The road to adoption is often a long and tedious one, but thoroughly rewarding and fulfilling for the individual who desires to be a parent and share their life with a child in need of a home.

If you are about to embark on the adoption journey or have already taken the first step, it is important to secure the right attorney, as you will need proper representation from start to finish to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Here are some things every parent should know when beginning their search for an adoption lawyer:

  • You have the right to choose your own attorney. If you are adopting a child under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Families, Illinois law gives you the right to choose your own attorney. The same goes for adoptions through private agencies; you can select the lawyer of your choosing that you believe will be the best fit for your situation and your family;
  • You should research any applicable legal fees and costs. Under certain circumstances, the Department of Children and Families may pay for any associated legal fees and costs. For example, if your foster child is a ward of DCFS and will be receiving a subsidy, the DCFS can pay up to $1,500 for court costs and legal fees for each child adopted. Typically, you are personally responsible for attorney and court fees, so be sure to find out what you owe and what assistance (if any) is available to you; and
  • Each type of adoption requires special representation. Whether you are pursuing one through a private agency or the DCFS, each adoption presents its own unique circumstances, requiring special attention from a knowledgeable attorney. For example, co-parent adoptions, which typically involve same-sex couples and related adoptions, which include family members such as grandparents, all present different obstacles and will have different requirements, depending on the case. You need an attorney who is responsive to you and who is qualified in the specific area of adoption you plan to pursue.

Selecting the right legal representation, understanding what the process will cost you, and gaining a better understanding of the type of adoption you are pursuing are the initial steps you will you need to take to get the ball rolling. Speak with a skilled Kane County adoption attorney today. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

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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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Illinois child custody laws, Illinois child custody attorneyDivorce and separation can be difficult on the entire family, especially when it comes time to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), as these issues impact the lives of both parents and children. A new lifestyle is born, and new routines are put into place, forcing everyone to adjust and adapt to many big changes at once.

Unmarried Parents Versus Married Parents

One question that often plagues the mind of parents undergoing divorce is whether or not their rights are equal. The subject of father’s rights are particularly concerning, as many children end up residing with the mother after a divorce. Do fathers receive the same rights? Is their desire to participate in the lives of their children taken just as seriously as the mother’s needs and wants?

If the couple is not married, these questions are doubly important. When couples are married, most states automatically assume that the husband is the father of the child and is therefore entitled to certain rights. The same is not true for unmarried couples sharing children.

What Rights Can I Expect to Have as a Father or Mother Going through a Separation?

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhether you are a non-custodial parent looking to participate in your child’s life or you are the main caregiver in your household, providing and managing financial support for your children following a divorce is important to the well being of your entire family. Thankfully, the state of Illinois offers a plethora of resources for divorcing parents to aid them with the transition.

If You Are Receiving Support

Child support is one topic that raises many questions for parents wading through the divorce process. If you are the parent receiving the financial support, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has made it possible for you to access your case information online and to receive your child support payments electronically, in one of two ways: direct deposit or bank debit card.

With direct deposit, the custodial parent can have support funds sent directly to a checking or savings account of their choice, or they can utilize the debit card option, which involves a special debit card that allows funds to be credited to its account. You can then use that debit card anywhere it is accepted. Think of it as a bank account designed just for your child’s needs.

Should you need to make changes to your support order at any time due to significant changes to your income or the needs of your child, you may submit your case for modification. Typically, a review must first be conducted to verify balances, updated employment status, and income information. Once the review is done, your case may be eligible for modification. In general, child support orders are automatically eligible for modification every three years.

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