Archive for the ‘Child Support’ Category

Child Support in an Illinois Divorce

April 17th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

child support, children of divorce, Illinois family law attorneysWhen a couple with a child divorces, two of the most important issues they have to work out during the divorce process are child custody and child support. Child support is the money paid from one parent to the other to cover the child’s basic needs, such as his or her food, clothing and housing until the child becomes an adult. In some cases, child support may continue even after the child turns 18 years old..

When beginning to analyze a child support amount, the court is required to first consider specific guidelines. The guidelines that the court must use to determine a couple’s child support agreement are included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The court’s goal is to ensure that your child’s needs are met and apportioning the child’s financial needs between both parents. Generally, a parent of one child can expect to pay 20 percent of his or her net income for child support. This percentage increases with each additional child being supported. However, this is only a starting point– other factors may be considered when determining a child support amount, and a parent may end up paying more or less than this amount depending on what the court finds to be in his or her child’s best interest. This is known as a deviation from the child support guidelines.

Calculating Child Support in Illinois

If the court is going to deviate from the guidelines under law for determining an appropriate amount of child support, it will consider the following factors:

  • Each of the parents’ income and current financial resources;
  • The child’s specific individual needs, including his or her academic or health care needs;
  • The standard of living that the child had before the divorce; and
  • Any financial resources the child may have.

Talk to your attorney about how your individual financial circumstances may affect your child support order. Significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances, such as job loss or retirement, can be a cause to seek a modification of your child support order.

Child Support Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are a parent planning to file for divorce in the near future, contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 to learn more about what you can expect from your child support hearing. Our skilled Chicago family law attorneys proudly serve Illinois families in our five office locations: Schaumburg, Northbrook, Orland Park, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago. Do not wait to contact our firm – when you are working through any type of legal issue, it is always in your best interest to be proactive and seek legal guidance as soon as you can.

Which Party Pays for Day Care Expenses in an Illinois Divorce?

April 3rd, 2015 at 5:49 pm

day care expenses, child care costs, Illinois Family Law AttorneyAre you going through a divorce and have young children in day care? Day care expenses are the largest household expense for most parents, according to CNN Money. With the growing number of children in day care, an important topic to discuss with your child support attorney is the responsibility for day care expenses.

Are Child Care Expenses included in Child Support?

report issued by Child Care Aware of America stated average expenses for day care can rival expenses for housing, transportation, and even tuition and fees for college. With the number of children in day care growing, so are the prices of day care. After a divorce, the thought of the expense of day care can be overwhelming, but equally overwhelming can be the idea of having to quit or cut back hours at your job to avoid the expense.

Quitting or cutting back hours at your job is not an option for most parents, especially when you are going through a divorce and your income is being divided. In Illinois, the court will determine what is in the best interest of your child or children. This will include child support, visitation rights, and custody. Day care expenses are awarded above and beyond basic child support. Child support is intended to be used for food, clothing, and the other basic needs of the child.

Who Pays Day Care Expenses?

The judge will determine how much each parent will pay of the day care costs. In most cases, the court will take into account the  cost of the day care, child support, income and financial circumstances of each parent, and if one or both parents are attending school. Costs beyond child support may be split in any proportion depending on the judge’s findings after consideration of the specific facts of the case.

Both parents are typically responsible for paying for day care expenses, but sometimes circumstances change. If you are going through a divorce or want to modify your divorce decree, you need to speak with a Chicago family law attorney. At Anderson & Associates, P.C. our family law attorneys specialize in both divorce and post decree modifications. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Cohabitation and Your Rights to Your Home and Your Children Following a Break Up

April 1st, 2015 at 5:22 pm

property rights, cohabitation agreements, Illinois Family Law AttorneyToday, it is not uncommon for unmarried couples to live together, purchase real estate and other property together, and have children. Many individuals live with their partners for decades without marrying. However, choosing cohabitation comes with unique challenges. When a couple gets married, they get certain legal protections. These protections include the right to share property such as their home and their bank accounts and the assumption that any children born to the couple are biologically related to their father, allowing him to seek custody and child support without having to prove his paternity if the relationship deteriorates.

If you are not married, you will need to sign certain documents to assert your rights to your home and your child. Talk to your attorney about your obligations as an unmarried parent or homeowner and how to protect yourself in the event your relationship ends.

Child Support and Custody for Unmarried Parents

If a child’s parents are not married when he or she was born, paternity must be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgement  of Paternity or through an order from the court . This is required by the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984.

Once a child’s paternity is established, either parent may seek child support from the other. This also entitles the father to add his name to the child’s birth certificate and seek custody or visitation rights with the child. Until paternity is established, the father is considered to be the child’s “alleged father.”

Tenancy Options for Unmarried Homeowners

When an unmarried couple decides to buy a house together, they need to establish an agreement regarding the type of shared tenancy they will have. There are two options available for unmarried homeowners: joint tenancy, and tenants-in-common.

With a joint tenancy agreement, the couple has an equal right to use and enjoy the home. If they break up and decide to sell the house, each partner is entitled to half of its value. If one partner dies, the other is entitled to take over full ownership of the home.

In a tenants-in-common agreement, the partners can have different percentages worth of ownership of their home. This may be based on the amount of money each contributed to purchasing it or the amount of maintenance each partner puts into the household. With this type of agreement, an individual’s share of the house becomes part of his or her estate, not his or her partner’s property, upon his or her death.

Regardles of type of ownership you choose, it will also be wise to an agreement about how the household expenses will be paid. Which agreement you choose depends on your relationship and your resources. Talk to both your partner and your attorney about your choices regarding shared ownership of your home to determine which is best for you.

Chicago Family Law Attorneys

To learn more about your rights following a break up, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. Our experienced Chicago family law attorneys focus on divorce and family topics and will advocate for you through every step of the legal process. We proudly serve our clients with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Seeking Unpaid Child Support

March 27th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

unpaid child support, child support order, Chicago Family Law AttorneysAfter a child’s parents end their relationship, the court may order that the noncustodial parent make child support payments to the custodial parent. It does not matter if the parents are divorcing or if they were never married – any parent may seek payment of child support from the child’s other legal parent. Under the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984, if a child’s parents are not married when he or she is born, the father must officially establish his paternity in order to seek or receive child support payments and for the child’s mother to seek such support from him.

When a child support order is in place, both parents are required to comply with it. If the supporting parent fails to meet his or her obligation, the parent receiving the support may take legal action against him or her to collect unpaid child support.

Taking Legal Action Against a Delinquent Parent

If your former partner consistently fails to make his or her child support payments and has not sought a modification for the order, you may initiate contempt proceedings before the court. With the help of an attorney, you can request that the court take any of the following steps to procure the money that your former partner owes:

  • Suspending his or her driver’s license;
  • Suspending of any vocational or professional licenses that he or she holds;
  • Obtaining a judgment which would create a lien, a public document that states he or she owes money, against his or her property; or
  • Garnishing of his or her wages.

Your former partner may also face penalties for his or her delinquency, including fines or jail time, as outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. These penalties depend on how much is owed and how long he or she has failed to make child support payments.

Child Support Attorneys in Chicago

If you have a child support order in place and your child’s other parent has missed a significant number of payments, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with an experienced Chicago family law attorney. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our dedicated team proudly serves parents and families in the Chicago area with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago. We can help you determine the best way for you to seek the money your child needs.

 

Child Support: Modifying an Order to Meet Evolving Needs

March 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

support order modification, child support, Chicago family lawyersFor many couples, and especially those with children, a divorce is more than a legal process used to finalize the dissolution of their marriage. Instead, it represents the starting point for a new family dynamic extending many years into the future. While many of the negotiations and arrangements inherent to divorce proceeding are permanent, such as the division of marital property, others must be drafted with the current situation in mind, and may be adjusted as the family’s circumstances change. A child support order represents a prime example of such an arrangement. 

Establishment of a Child Support Order

At the time of a divorce, or other appropriate point prescribed by law, if a support order is appropriate, the court is expected to follow established guidelines to determine the amount of support must be paid. The non-custodial parent is typically required to pay support based on his or her net income, the number of supported children, and relevant circumstantial factors. Once the order has been entered, the supporting party must continue to meet his or her obligations or risk enforcement action and prosecution.

Changes in Needs or Resources

An order for child support is expected to address the current and reasonably anticipated needs of the child, while taking into account the income and resources of the supporting parent. However, it is very likely that either or both will change over time, potentially resulting in a situation that it is not appropriately being matched by the existing support order. For this reason, the state of Illinois not only permits support orders to be modified, but encourages that they be kept as current as reasonably possible.

The court may consider the modification of a child support order in the following situations:

  • The needs of the child have significantly changed. In addition to normal growth and development, other considerations may impact the amount of financial support required by the child. Examples may include the diagnosis of a serious medical condition, the legal marriage of the child, and acceptance into an elite educational program. The impact to the support order could range from a substantial increase to the complete termination of support.
  • The supporting party experienced a significant change in income. Situations may arise in which the paying parent loses employment or suffers a debilitating injury which negatively affects his or her earning capacity. Conversely, a new position or increased business opportunities may drastically increase his or her income. Depending on the case, ordered support may be increased or decreased.

Recalculation of Support

Once the court determines that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the modification of a child support order is handled by the court in the same manner as establishing the original order. The same considerations must be made, and with more current income and circumstantial information available, the modified order will be better suited to meet the family’s needs.

If you are subject to a child support order in Illinois and believe the order should be modified for any reason, contact an experienced Chicago family law attorney today. The qualified lawyers at Anderson & Associates, P.C., can help you understand your options and provide you the best in professional legal services. We have offices conveniently located in Wheaton, Schaumburg, Orland Park, Northbrook, and downtown Chicago.

Non-Minor Support for College Expenses

March 18th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

college expenses, child support, Illinois Family Law AttorneysAs a parent with a child support agreement, you know you have to financially provide for your child until he or she reaches adulthood. But when does adulthood truly begin? Today, many young men and women remain financially dependent on their parents well after their eighteenth birthdays, sometimes for another decade or longer. One of the main reasons behind this is the trend of young adults choosing to attend college after completing high school. College can be expensive and in many cases, parents help their children by footing some, or even all, of the bill.

But can the court require you to pay for your child’s college education? In Illinois, the answer is yes. This is known as non-minor support and you may be required to pay it at the judge’s discretion.

Factors a Judge May Consider to Determine Non-Minor Support

In Illinois, there is no law that requires parents to contribute financially to their children’s college education, but it can be ordered by the court in certain situations. Whether or not you are required to do so is determined by the judge upon consideration of the following:

  • Your son or daughter’s current grade point average and potential to be successful in college. A strong student has a much better chance of being awarded non-minor support than a student with a poor academic record.
  • Your financial obligations as well as those of your ex-spouse. This includes the existence of agreements or orders regarding spousal maintenance payments.
  • The effect your divorce had on your standard of living. Would your child have had approximately the same opportunity to afford college if you had not divorced?
  • Any grants or scholarships available to your child to help defray educational expenses.

Using this information, the judge will also determine how much you may be required to pay toward your child’s college education, if you are required to pay at all. The court may also stipulate that your child meet certain requirements to continue to receive your financial support. Such stipulations may include:

  • Requiring your child to maintain a certain grade point average.
  • Requiring him or her to work a specific number of hours while attending college.
  • Requiring that he or she choose a state or community college to reduce costs.
  • Requiring him or her to use grants or scholarships to defray costs as much as possible.

Talk to your child about realistic college goals and expectations before he or she finishes high school. College costs can be a significant expense which many families cannot afford without help or advanced planning.

Chicago Family Attorneys

If your child is considering attending college and you want to find out what you may be legally required to pay, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. Our experienced Chicago divorce attorneys proudly serve parents and families in the Chicago area with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Do Illinois Child Support Laws Need Updating?

January 20th, 2015 at 11:20 am

Illinois child support laws, Chicago divorce lawyerThere is no question that the child of unmarried or divorced parents has the right to expect a measure of support from both of his or her parents, regardless of circumstances. Whatever issues exist between the parents should not affect the financial support which both adults are able to provide for the child. Illinois, like every state, has established guidelines to codify the financial expectation for most child support orders.

Current Child Support Model

The child support laws currently in place in Illinois are based on a framework known as “percentage of obligor net income”. Under this model, the non-residential parent is expected to pay support to the parent with whom the child lives. The amount of support is based on the number of children being supported and calculated as a percentage of the payor’s net income.

A non-residential parent paying support would expect to pay:

  • 20 percent of net income for 1 child;
  • 28 percent of net income for 2 children;
  • 32 percent of net income for 3 children;
  • 40 percent of net income for 4 children;
  • 45 percent of net income for 5 children; and
  • 50 percent of net income for 6 or more children.

A court may find that the recommended percentages are not appropriate in all situations. Considerations for the financial resources and needs of all parties, the educational, physical, and emotional needs of the children and the standard of living established prior to the separation or divorce all may affect the court’s decision to deviate from the guideline.

Recommended Changes

In 2010, the Child Support Advisory Committee in Illinois conducted a review of the child support system and compared it to that of other states. The Committee found that 38 states use an “income shares” model for support orders rather than a simple percentage-based structure.  Under an income shares support model, generally, the cost of raising the child is divided between the parents based on both incomes and provides for variation based on factors such as shared parenting time and unusually high or low incomes.

The Committee has recommended that the state adopt an income shares child support model as it is a more equitable approach to sharing the cost of raising children. It provides both parents a clearer understanding of what their responsibilities are rather than simply ordering money be taken from the non-residential parent. To date, attempts to legislate a new child support system in Illinois have not been successful, but with so many states having already made the change, it is possible that Illinois will eventually follow suit.

If you have questions about your child support order, contact a skilled Chicago family law attorney today. At Anderson & Associates P.C., we understand the law and the legal system and are equipped to help you every step of the way. With offices in Northbrook, Wheaton, Schaumburg, Orland Park and downtown, it is our goal to protect the rights of your family.