Tag Archives: child support

dupage county divorce lawyerUntil 2017, Illinois child support obligations were based solely on the paying parent’s income. However, the law has changed substantially in recent years, and now the calculation considers both parents’ income to decide how the support obligation should be distributed between them. In order to understand how this income shares model will apply to your case, it is important to know how Illinois determines the income of each parent for the purposes of child support.

Understanding Gross and Net Income

The first step in calculating child support is to determine each parent’s gross income. According to Illinois law, this includes income from a variety of sources, including wages, business income, investment income, trust distributions, unemployment benefits, taxable spousal maintenance, and more. It can also include Social Security disability benefits for the child, though in this case, the parent will receive a child support credit if benefits are paid to the other parent. Gross income does not include benefits from public assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, benefits paid for other children in the household, or tax-free maintenance.

After calculating gross income, the next step is to calculate each parent’s net income. In order to do so, a standardized or individualized amount of state and federal income taxes is subtracted from each parent’s gross income. If a parent is obligated to pay spousal maintenance or child support for another child outside of the current proceeding, those payments can also be subtracted. The resulting net income figures are then used in the basic child support calculation.

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hinsdale paternity lawyerWhen a child is born to unmarried parents in Illinois, it is important to establish legal paternity. There are a few different ways to do so, including having both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) or establishing a man’s parentage through an administrative or judicial order, often with the support of a DNA test. However, regardless of how paternity is established, there are other, related legal issues that must often be resolved.

Denial of Presumed Parentage

Establishing paternity with a VAP is often a straightforward process that can be completed by simply completing and filing a form. However, it can be more complicated when there are other men who have a possible legal claim of fatherhood. Under Illinois law, a man is presumed to be the legal father of a child if he was married to the mother at the time of birth, or if he had been married to the mother within 300 days of the birth.

However, there are many cases in which a presumed father is not the biological father. If a man other than the one signing the VAP is presumed to be the father, he will need to sign a denial of parentage in order for the VAP to go into effect. The man may do so willingly, but if not, it may be necessary for both men to undergo DNA testing in order to reach a resolution on the child’s parentage.

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IL child support lawyerChild support in Illinois is legally binding. When a judge orders one parent to pay it as a result of divorce, they must do so. That does not mean, however, that you are stuck with a high payment that you might not always be able to afford. The law in Illinois recognizes that situations change and as such, either parent can petition the court to have their child support payments modified. The steps for doing so are outlined below.

Find a Good Family Lawyer

It is not a requirement that you have legal representation to modify child support payments. If you represent yourself, you will not have anyone to guide you through the legal system. The staff in the courtroom also cannot give legal advice, or tell you of the chances of a successful outcome. It is in your best interest to speak to an attorney any time you have to go to court.

Complete All Forms and File with the Court

There are many forms you will need to complete. These include:

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IL divorce lawyerWhen two people decide to make a split in their relationship, one of the first and most difficult decisions is often where the couple will live. If they are not married but only living together, the choice is often much simpler, as the person whose name is on the lease or mortgage will inevitably retain use of the property. If a true joint lease or mortgage, then it can indeed be every bit as complicated. But for a married couple - especially with children - the challenge is deciding who will stay in the marital home. In most cases, men tend to be the ones to depart quickly upon conflict. But this may not always be a good decision. So, before you move out of the marital home, here are some considerations you might want to discuss with a DuPage County divorce lawyer.

He Who Stays and He Who Pays

Effective January of 2019, Illinois’ child support statute has dramatically changed. Unlike before, the law no longer creates a strict guideline based on just the number of children a couple has. Instead, the new law takes into considerations such as:

  • How many children the couple has
  • Whether there are children from other relationships
  • Who is paying health and dental insurance
  • Who is paying daycare and other childcare expenses
  • Relative income of both parties
  • The relative amount of parenting time each parent has

This is a significant departure from the past, and it can be a good thing for parents who have fairly equal parenting time with a spouse who earns far less. By having more equal parenting time and covering extra expenses for the kids, it reduces the amount of direct support that must be paid, if any. However, it is important to keep in mind that the marital home has a somewhat intangible effect on parenting roles. Here is why.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce makes virtually everything more complicated, especially when children are involved. More time and added communication are required of parents who are divorced or separated; everything from creating a time-sharing plan during summer vacation and agreeing on what expenses each parent is responsible for paying when it comes to college costs, to figuring out who takes the children to their bi-annual dental cleaning appointment involves complexities that single household families do not have to deal with. One more added complexity is that of taxes. Only one parent can claim their child as a dependent on their taxes, and this continues to be a point of conflict months or years after divorce.

What Are Child Tax Credits?

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 eliminated the dependency tax exemption that parents could claim, a parent who claims dependents still has options for other tax benefits. These include a tax credit for the child and earned income credit. A parent can receive up to $2,000 in tax credit per child under the age of 17 and up to $500 for each child aged 17 to 19 or each child aged 19-24 who is enrolled in full-time college.

A tax credit offsets tax liability. For example, if a parent made $40,000 over the course of a year, their $2,000 tax credit would bump their taxable income down to $38,000. With two children under 17, they would double their tax savings. As such, parents with joint custody often disagree about who gets to claim their child or children as dependents, because only one parent can do so.

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