Tag Archives: Illinois child support laws

IL divorce lawyerParents are expected to provide financial support to their minor children, even in the event that they get a divorce. Child support is often a contentious issue in divorce cases. It is typically paid by the non-custodial parent that has lost time they could have spent with their children. Being asked to make payments on top of that lost time causes some parents to feel upset and frustrated. One of the first questions they will ask is how much child support they will have to pay. While no one can determine an exact amount without reviewing the facts of the case, there are some helpful guidelines to follow.

The Income Shares Model in Illinois

When determining the amount of child support a parent will have to pay once a divorce is final, Illinois uses an income shares model. The model uses a table that outlines the percentage of income that was spent on the child when the parents lived together. If a child stays a minimum of 146 nights at the non-custodial parent’s house, that parent will have to pay 1.5 times more than basic child support obligations.

When determining the amount of child support a parent must pay, the paying parent’s net income is first calculated. A parent’s net income is the earnings they take home after taxes, other deductions, and applicable adjustments have been made. This is the first step in determining how much child support a parent is responsible for paying.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter a couple with children gets a divorce, one parent is often ordered to pay the other child support. Typically, a child support order remains in effect until the child is no longer considered a minor, but when a child attends college or university, that could change. Paying college expenses differs slightly from standard child support, and it is important that all parents understand what child support may entail if their child pursues post-secondary education.

Contributions to College Expenses for a Child

In 2016, the Illinois legislature passed a law that gave the courts the authority to order the parents of a child to pay for a child’s education expenses until the child turns 25 years old. Most orders of this type will expire when the child turns 23 years old, but parents have the right to request payments for an additional two years.

 While Illinois courts use a specific formula to determine the amount of child support a parent must pay prior to the child’s 18th birthday, the same is not true of support paid to contribute to college expenses. When determining the amount of support a parent must pay for post-secondary education, the court will consider the financial resources each of the parents will have in the future and use that to determine how much each parent will be required to pay.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter the pandemic hit Illinois in late March, unemployment claims in the state increased by more than 178,000. To put that in perspective, that is an increase of 1,833 percent in just one week. With so many people being furloughed, laid off, or permanently terminated from their job, it is no surprise that many parents are also wondering how they are going to meet their child support obligations. Although it is understandable that this is an expense that you may not be able to afford right now, it is crucial that you do not simply stop paying. In Illinois, there is a procedure for modifying child support and you must follow it.

Reasons for Modifying Child Support

There are several acceptable reasons for modifying child support. A judge may change the amount you pay if you can show:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances
  • The modification is necessary for the healthcare needs of the child, or
  • The child support obligation deviates from the guidelines set out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

The most common reason for a court to modify a child support order is when there has been a substantial change of circumstances. These changes may include cost of living increases, additional needs of the child, and the financial ability of the parents, such as if one or both of them lost their job due to the pandemic.

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IL divorce lawyerIn Illinois, all parents are financially responsible for their minor children. When two parents are married, it is assumed that both parents will contribute to the financial needs of their child. When those parents are not married, or they get a divorce, typically one parent must make child support payments. In most situations, the parent that pays child support only must do so until the child reaches the age of 18. It is then assumed that the child can make their own living and financially support themselves.

When a child suffers from a disability, they are sometimes unable to work and earn that income to support themselves. Illinois law recognizes this and outlines certain times when child support can be extended to support a child with a disability.

What Qualifies for Extended Child Support in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a disability is considered an impairment that prohibits a person from performing a major life activity. An impairment can be physical or mental and can include developmental disorders, physical handicaps, intellectual disabilities, and more. As long as the impairment is severe enough that it limits a child’s ability to perform daily tasks, support for the child may be extended.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are many complicated legal issues in any divorce that involves children. While parents may typically first think of child custody, there is also the issue of child support. Divorce is often expensive enough, but when one spouse learns that they will keep paying for the divorce through child support for years after, sometimes they take drastic steps to avoid the expense. Some may even quit their job. So, what can you do when a spouse stops working in an effort to avoid paying child support?

Obtaining a Child Support Order from the Courts

Under Illinois law, all parents are required to financially support their children while they are still minors. The only exception to this is that parents must also support a child 19 years of age if they are still in high school. Parents are obligated to provide this financial support regardless of whether they are married to the other parent or not.

When parents are divorced, this financial responsibility is typically met through child support. The non-custodial parent will make payments to the custodial parent to help with the daily expenses for the child, as well as their medical and educational costs.

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