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Geneva family law attorneyWhen you and your child’s other parent are forced to come up with arrangements regarding for parenting time—previously known as visitation under Illinois law—it can be regrettably easy to get caught up in your own wants and needs. Some, of course, are entirely reasonable, such as building parenting time schedules around your career obligations, but many parents often forget to take their child’s wishes into account.

What the Law Says

While parents are free to develop a parenting plan—including arrangements for parenting time—on their own, such a plan must be reasonable and serve the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, arrangements may be made by the court. In doing so, the court is required by law to take a number of factors into account, including the wishes of the child in question. The child’s wishes are not necessarily binding but should factor into the court’s ultimate decision.

Kane County family law attorneyIf you are a divorced parent, you probably recognize your responsibility for helping to provide financially for your child. In most Illinois cases, the parent with fewer parental responsibilities and less parenting time is obligated to make child support payments to the other parent. While the law that dictates the calculation of such payments is set to change at the beginning of 2017, the current statute takes into account two primary factors: the number of children being supported and the net income of the supporting parent. But, what does net income include?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, net income is defined as the “total of all income from all sources” minus certain allowable deductions. By law, these deductions include:

  • Properly calculated federal taxes;
  • Properly calculated state taxes;
  • Social Security/FICA payments;
  • Retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment;
  • Union dues;
  • Premiums for health insurance;
  • Premiums for life insurance ordered by the court to secure child support payments;
  • Previous obligations for child support and spousal maintenance;
  • Obligations for maintenance as part of the current divorce proceedings; and
  • Expenditures required for the production of income, such as student loans.

In most cases, the calculation of net income is fairly straightforward. Most supporting parents generate income through hourly wages or a regular salary, and the deductions are relatively easy to determine. In other situations, however, things can become much more complex.

Kane County family law attorneyWhile the warm weather has not yet faded into the chill of autumn, school is back in session for children throughout the country, including here in Kane County. Long days full of recreation, trips to amusement parks, camping adventures, and other outdoor activities have been replaced with books, assignments, notes, and an educational focus. The transition back into school mode can be challenging for virtually any child, but the situation is often even more complicated for a child of divorce. If you are divorced and your child is struggling with the change of season, there are some things that you and the other parent can do to help make things a little easier.

Talk

It should come as little surprise to see communication at the top of a list regarding how to help your child. You cannot know what to do or that anything even needs to be done unless and until you talk to your child and find out where he or she may be struggling. You should also take the time to speak with your child’s teachers and school administrators, both to keep them abreast of your child’s needs and to gain their valuable input into how to meet your child’s needs. Finally, do not be afraid to communicate with your child’s other parent. Regardless of your past relationship, you need to be a team now more than ever and to help prevent small problems in school from becoming big ones.

Geneva family law attorneyEven if they do not feel morally obligated to do so, parents of children have a legal obligation to provide financial support. This applies when a couple divorces, legally separates, or even if they were never married. If you are a parent in the state of Illinois about to go through a divorce or legal separation or have a child outside of marriage the following information can help you understand the basics of how this obligation to provide support may apply to your situation, and how it is determined.

Child Support in Divorce or Legal Separation

When two parents are married and then decide to divorce or legally separate, they must also go through several legal processes that involve the welfare of their child. These include the allocation of parental responsibilities, assignment of parenting time, and determination of child support. Of those, the child support determination is often the most straightforward. However, it can be just as filled with contention as other aspects of the divorce since child support may be – at least in part - determined in relation to the amount of parenting time each parent receives.  Other factors that may be considered could include:

Kane County family law attorneyAs a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, you undoubtedly understand the importance of providing financial support for your child, particularly if you have not been granted primary residential parental responsibilities. Of course, there is much more to being a parent than paying child support, but when you are having trouble making your obligated payments, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take when meeting your obligations becomes impossible, and an experienced family lawyer can help.

Requesting a Modification

Child support orders in Illinois are generally based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children being supported. Therefore, if your income or ability to generate income changes substantially, you can request a modification to your support order. You will need to show that there has been a significant change in your circumstances, but if the court approves your request, your order can be amended to reflect your current situation.

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