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Posted on in Child Support

child support, Kane County child support lawyerIn early August 2016, the Illinois legislature passed an act modifying the state’s child support guidelines, to take effect at the beginning of next month. The current regulations have been a subject of significant discussion in the last few years, notably from fathers’ rights groups alleging that the current guidelines unfairly penalize non-custodial parents. It remains to be seen whether the new laws will be an improvement.

An Alleged Burden on Paying Parents

Illinois’s current child support regulations are determined by minimum percentages of the paying parent’s income. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets out the formulas used by the court, and while the formulas may be modified by a judge when necessary, most of the time they are not modified. The formulas are somewhat of a holdover from the days when most families had one breadwinner rather than two working parents, and as such, they are primarily suited for situations in which there is an earning paying parent and a stay-at-home recipient parent. Such family situations still exist, but they are no longer the norm for most households.

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Posted on in Child Support

child support, Kane County child support attorneyIt is decidedly common for a parent to be dissatisfied about the amount of child support that a court has ordered him or her to pay. However, this does not excuse the parent from paying it, even if a modification is pending. If you are owed back child support by your child’s other parent, this is referred to as an arrearage, and it must be paid, regardless of what other obligations your ex-spouse may have. In Illinois, there are various ways to collect on this particular obligation.

Penalties for Non-Payment

If you owe child support and fall behind in payments without working out an arrangement with the recipient parent—or the court—the state of Illinois will be informed. Depending on your location and the amount owed, federal authorities may also be notified. If you attempt to disappear to avoid obligations, there are entities such as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) that exist to track down deadbeat parents, and you may be penalized more for attempting to shirk your commitments. In extreme cases, you may be jailed under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act.

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child support, Kane County family lawyerPayments of child support are supposed to be used to improve the life of your child or children. But, what exactly does that mean? Is it permissible to use the money to buy things that are useful but that may not be an immediate necessity? There is some guidance in the law as to what child support should be used for, but very often, it ends up being a judgment call. Doing your research or consulting a legal professional is always a good idea.

Illinois Law

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, all parents in Illinois have the responsibility to support the “reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.” Parents who are allotted the majority of the parenting time following a divorce or separation fulfill this responsibility by providing a stable home and raising their children. Thus, the other parent, in most cases, is ordered to make child support payments. In theory, such payments are meant to assist with the costs of housing, clothing, and food, but obviously, every parent knows there will always be more. This is part of what gives rise to the ambiguity over child support in the first place, as it is not uncommon at all for parents to argue over what truly qualifies as a “need.”

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Posted on in Child Support

disabled, Kane County family law attorneyParents of a child who has a disability or special needs frequently face a number of challenges in providing for their child’s needs. Raising a special needs or disabled child can cause serious psychological and emotional strain on the parents’ relationship with one another, and divorce is not uncommon for couples in such a situation. Identifying and protecting the child’s best interests can be very complex, and it can be difficult to develop an appropriate parenting arrangement. Depending on your situation, however, and the level of your child’s disability, your legal responsibilities regarding your child could continue even after his or her 18th birthday. You may be even be required to make support payments, despite the child reaching adulthood.

Definition of “Disabled”

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a disabled person is one “who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits or major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.” In order for your child to qualify for non-minor support payments, he or she must have been diagnosed or found to have the disability while he or she was eligible for regular child support or support for college expenses. This means that if your child acquires a disability after he or she graduated from college, turned 25, and moved out of your house, non-minor support will not be available for him or her.

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Posted on in Child Support

child support, Kane County family law attorneyIt is generally understood that all parents have a moral obligation to help support their children. When a child’s parents are no longer together due to divorce or a breakup, the obligation often transforms from a subjective, moral responsibility to an objective, legal one. In Illinois, the law provides that either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support, but most cases result in a support obligation for only one parent.

The Need for an Update

For several decades, Illinois courts have relied on a calculation method that determines the supporting parent’s obligation as a specific percentage of his or her income based on the number of supported children. This model, however, has come under fire in recent years as family dynamics and cultural expectations have evolved. Many believe that the existing method is inherently unfair to the supporting parent, as it does not statutorily account for the recipient parent’s income or shared parenting time.

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