Kane County child support attorneysMost divorced parents think of child support ending when the child in question turns 18 years old. Usually, this is the case. However, there are several situations in which a court may order more, and one of those is when dealing with college expenses. Illinois law differs somewhat from many other states’ in that while married parents may decline to contribute to their children’s college expenses, unmarried parents may be ordered as part of a divorce agreement to contribute according to their income level.

Non-Minor Support

College expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and the like fall under a legal category Illinois calls non-minor support. It is also possible, but somewhat less common, that the court will hold some living expenses to fall into that category as well—costs such as bus or train passes and medical insurance. The key word in such determinations is “reasonable,” and the court has quite a bit of leeway in that regard.

Geneva family law attorneysAn order for child support is a binding judgment. If a parent who has been ordered to pay refuses to comply or otherwise claims an inability to do so that is not supported by facts, the recipient parent and the state can take steps to ensure the children are supported in the way they should be according to the law. It is often a laborious process, but once started, it is usually successful.

State Court Enforcement

Illinois has a specific law on the books known as the Non-Support Punishment Act (NSPA), which governs the proceedings that may face a parent who is significantly behind on child support payments without sufficient cause. The offense of failure to support is created by the act, which is either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the manner in which the noncustodial parent seeks to evade support. For example, a parent who attempts to leave the state to avoid support obligations may be charged with a Class 4 felony, while a parent who fails to pay outstanding support arrears for more than 6 months could face prosecution for a Class A misdemeanor.

Kane County child support lawyerMajor revisions have been  made to the way that child support is calculated by courts in Illinois. The Illinois legislature has been wrestling with the way that child support has been calculated in our state for many years, but as of this month, much-needed changes are finally here.

What is New About The Law?

The law, which went into effect on July 1, changes an outdated, static, and unchanging methodology for child support calculations and switches Illinois to an income shares model used by many other states.

Kane County family law attorneyFamily courts do their best to be equitable in making decisions regarding child support, and they look to ensure that the amount ordered as payable is one that both parents can manage. Sometimes, however, payments are not made for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, there are safeguards in place that ensure that back child support or maintenance payments may be collected.

Notices of Withholding Income for Support

If you are not receiving your child support payments, you may contact Illinois’s Division of Child Support Services, or you may involve the family court where your divorce was handled. Either way, it is incumbent upon you to ask for back child support. If you can back up your claim, the court will enter an arrearage against the parent owing support. Usually, when a Uniform Order of Child Support is ordered, a Notice to Withhold Income for Support is sent to the employer of the paying parent, advising them to withhold a certain amount and forward it to the state. If an arrearage occurs, a new Notice must be sent to let the employer know that more must be taken out to cover it.

Kane County divorce lawyerOften, the number one fear of parents contemplating or currently going through a divorce is that it will negatively affect the children. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet cure for the pain caused by ending a marriage. Getting a divorce is complicated and messy, but this upheaval does not last forever. There are steps you can take to lessen the burden on your children and help them to not only navigate this new family structure but to thrive in it.

Staying Together May Be Doing More Harm Than Good

Some couples consider divorce completely out of the question and commit to “staying together for the kids” even if they are obviously miserable together. Such couples believe that the children living with both parents at the same time is better for them than a shared custody arrangement. Research has shown, however, that children who live in a home with fighting, arguing, and tension are deeply hurt by this.

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