Child Support Lawyer – Nokomis & Litchfield, IL

Child support laws have changed over the years. It is no longer a simple percentage of income calculation. Both sides need representation that can help them through the complexity of what a reasonable amount of child support would be in their family situation.

Whether you’re figuring out support for the first time or the amount needs to be changed due to job loss, pay decrease, or a pay increase, it is helpful to have a child support lawyer on your side.

Contact Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC in Nokomis or Litchfield, IL today.

Illinois Child Support Overview

When Illinois courts award child support, they do so with the child’s best interests in mind. Child support is not intended to punish one parent or is it meant to serve as the windfall for the recipient. It is meant to help the parent with the majority of parenting time (the custodial parent under the old law) pay for the living expenses of the child, which may include basic necessities, childcare costs, medical insurance costs, and entertainment expenses.

The parent paying support is typically the parent that has less parenting time (formerly the non-custodial parent), as the courts assume the parent with more parenting time is already supporting the child while exercising physical custody. Ultimately, the courts hope to ensure children enjoy the same standard of living post-divorce or separation that they would have enjoyed had their parents stayed together.

Calculating Child Support Amounts

Illinois child support laws are based on the assumption that children have the right to support from both parents. Both parents’ income and the amount of parenting time each parent has is used to calculate child support.

When calculating child support, the judge examines the income of both parents, and combines them together to determine their total monthly net income. The judge will then use the mathematical formula set forth under Illinois law, which examines the combined income, as well as the number of children, to determine the child support award.

Although there is a set mathematical calculation that the court and parties use, there can be an agreement or court order that “deviates” from the calculated amount to accommodate the circumstances of the parties.

What Does Child Support Cover?

We are often told by the party paying support that they should not have to pay for uncovered medical expenses, school tuition and supplies, extra-curricular costs, daycare expenses, etc. because they pay child support. This is incorrect. Those types of expenses are separate from child support under the law. Child support covers daily living expenses, such as food, shelter, clothes, gifts, etc.

Child Support Modifications

Very few people’s circumstances look the same today as they did three, five, or ten years ago. To accommodate for changes such as loss of employment, injury, illness, or a change in the child’s needs, Illinois courts allow parents to pursue modifications to child support orders.

The court will only grant a modification if the party seeking a change proves that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Some examples of substantial change include:

  • Termination of a parent’s employment status
  • A parent receiving a new job that pays more
  • A parent receiving an increase in pay at their current employer
  • Other changes in a parent’s financial status
  • Change in a child’s needs, which often occurs when the child becomes older
  • Termination of maintenance that was received by the parent receiving the child support

Modifications can be a complex process. If you undergo a substantial change in circumstances and cannot afford your child support or need more support, it is advisable contact an attorney regarding what you need to do to modify your support order.

A Note on 2017 Law Changes

Although child support laws changed in 2017, this change alone is not a basis for modifying child support. Keep in mind that the new law can result in an increase or decrease in what you pay or receive. This is dependent on many factors. You should consult with an attorney to see if requesting a change at this time would be the right choice for your situation before filing for a modification based on a substantial change of circumstances.

Educational Expenses for a Non-Minor Child

The court may order support to be paid by the parents for the educational expenses of any child of the parties after high school or receiving a GED. Some of the requirements that must be met for this to occur include the following:

  • Both parents have to have access to the school academic records of the child
  • The child must maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average
  • The child be under 25 years of age

Educational expenses may include the following:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing expenses, whether on-campus or off-campus
  • Medical expenses, including medical insurance, and dental expenses
  • Reasonable living expenses of the child during the academic year and periods of recess if the child is a resident student attending a post-secondary educational program. If the child is living with one party at that party’s home and attending a post-secondary educational program as a non-resident student, the living expenses include an amount that pays for the reasonable cost of the child’s food, utilities, and transportation
  • Cost of up to 5 college applications, the cost of 2 standardized college entrance examinations, and the cost of one standardized college entrance examination preparatory course
  • Cost of books and other supplies necessary to attend college

Support for a Non-Minor Child with a Disability

The court may award sums of money out of the property and income of either or both parties—or the estate of a deceased parent—for the support of a child who is eighteen years old when the child is mentally or physically disabled and not otherwise emancipated. The support payments may be paid to one of the parents, to a trust created by the parties for the benefit of the non-minor child with a disability, or irrevocably to a special needs trust, established by the parties and for the sole benefit of the non-minor child with a disability.

A request for support for a non-minor disabled child may be made before or after the child has attained majority.

Child Support Enforcement

When an obligor fails to make timely payments, the courts worry the late or missed payments will cause undue hardship for the parent receiving the support and therefore the child. To prevent hardship from impacting the child and custodial parent, the courts treat child support violations very seriously.

To enforce payment, a court may garnish a parent’s wages, place a lien on a parent’s property, or even hold the parent in contempt of court, which can result in jail if the contempt is intentional and ongoing. The court can also assess attorney’s fees to be paid by the party in violation of the support order.  Though the courts encourage the recipient to explore other means of enforcement before resorting to drastic measures such as contempt of court, they are willing to step in when a parent becomes seriously delinquent on child support payments.

Get Legal Help Today

Whether you are about to embark on the divorce process, are currently going through a divorce, have separated from your significant other and need to figure out what to pay or be paid, or need to modify an existing court order, it would be in your best interests to retain the help of a child support attorney.

The right attorney can help you negotiate a fair monthly payment and help ensure you and your child have a comfortable financial future. Contact Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC today.