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Illinois child support attorneysRaising a child takes financial resources, so when you are ordered to pay child support, is important that you fulfill your financial obligation. Unfortunately, life can get in the way. People get injured or laid off from their jobs. Health complications can make it difficult to maintain gainful employment. If any of these (or any other scenarios) apply to your situation, there may be options available to you. Learn more with help from the following information. 

Defaulting is Never an Option

Parents who fall behind on their child support payments sometimes avoid asking for help because they fear it will only increase their overall costs. Yet, if changes to their order for support are not made, the obligated parent may fall far enough behind on their payments to warrant disciplinary action from the state. Such consequences may include:

  • Jail time,
  • Cancellation of one’s driver’s license,
  • Cancellation of a professional license,
  • Wage garnishments,
  • Seizure of tax refunds,
  • Damage to one’s credit,
  • Property liens, and
  • Felony charges. 

All of these consequences can be avoided, so long as immediate action is taken when the parent can no longer meet their court-ordered obligation.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIt takes a great deal of money to raise a child, especially one with special needs. There are often added expenses for medical treatment, therapies, and perhaps even therapeutic or medical equipment. Thankfully, when parents are separated or divorced, these added expenses can be factored into an order for child support. Learn more, including how a seasoned family law attorney can improve the outcome of your case, in the following sections. 

How Child Support is Calculated in Illinois 

Illinois uses what is known as the “income shares” model to determine the amount of support a parent owes. The process starts with an economic table, supplied by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to determine the cost of raising the child. 

That amount is then compared to the net income of each parent to determine what their obligation of support should be. The closer the receiving parent’s income is to the obligated paying parent, the less the support will generally be. The goal is to try and balance out the cost and ensure that neither parent is overly burdened by the cost of supporting the child. 

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Illinois child support lawyersChild support is designed to ensure a child’s immediate financial needs are met, such as food and clothing for school. It can also go toward a child’s future, giving a parent the power to start up a college fund for the child. Sadly, statistics indicate that only 44 percent of all custodial parents receive the full amount of support that they are owed. 

One California woman had been just one of many who had not received child support after her divorce. Given custody of their daughter, the woman had been left to raise and financially support the child after her ex-husband skipped town and moved to Canada. From there, the man completely disappeared. Fifty years later, the courts awarded the woman a settlement of $150,000. That amount included the overdue support payments of $35,000, as well as penalty fees and interest for four decades of unpaid support. her experience proves it is never too late to pursue the overdue support you are owed. 

Pursuing Overdue Child Support in Illinois

Parents often feel as though they are alone in their pursuit of overdue child support. However, there are resources and services available to them. One of the most invaluable is the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). They have the power and ability to track down a delinquent parent. They can also impose penalties on the parent to encourage payment. Examples may include suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver’s license or professional license, imprisonment, or putting a “freeze” on the delinquent parent’s passport. 

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Illinois child support attorneysIllinois law states that children have the right to emotional and financial support from both of its biological parents, and it protects those rights through different measures. Child support is one of the more commonly known and discussed, yet obligors are often confused about where their responsibility ends and begins. Moreover, they are not always informed of their rights, such as the right to request a modification if a significant change in circumstances occurs. 

When Can an Obligor Request a Modification to Child Support? 

When child support orders are established, the income of each biological parent is used in the calculations, as are the specific needs of the child (i.e. children with special needs, etc.). The time that each parent spends with the child may have been used as well, but such considerations have only recently become commonplace. If a substantial change has occurred in any of these areas - the income of the biological parents, the child’s needs, or the amount of time that each parent spends with the child - then either parent may request a modification to their order of support.

Since changes are meant to benefit the child, not the parents, some modifications could result in an increase in a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation. For example, if a child needs braces, the receiving parent may petition the courts to obtain additional support from the obligor. 

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Illinois family law attorneysWhen parents go through a divorce, they must determine how to divide the cost and responsibilities associated with raising their child(ren). Child support is sometimes awarded to the parent with the most time with the child, but even still, there may be added expenses not covered by the supporting parent’s legal child support obligation. Learn how you can determine who should cover child-related expenses after your Illinois divorce, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can assist you with the entire process. 

Child Support in Illinois - Understanding the Obligation 

Under state law, children have the right to receive emotional and financial support from both of their parents. Child support helps to ensure that financial need is met. However, not all parents are obligated to pay. Instead, the state uses the income of both parents, the average cost of raising a child, and the amount of parenting time awarded to each parent in order to determine how much support (if any) is owed. 

Extra expenses, such as healthcare costs, fees for extracurricular activities, and special equipment for a special needs’ child may be added in when calculating the amount of support that is owed, but parents do not always request to have them added. There may also be other child-related expenses that are not considered to be a part of the calculation. For example, parents may verbally agree to split the cost of back-to-school clothing and supplies, but this agreement may not be included in the divorce decree or child support order. College savings may not be included in the calculation either (even if there is an existing account that must be divided between the married parties), so parents may have to come to an agreement outside of court to ensure their child has the money they need to complete their education. 

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