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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.

Kane County family law attorneyAs the high school graduation season draws to a close, prospective college freshmen are looking ahead toward the beginning of a new adventure. Over the past several decades, however, rising tuition costs and tighter household budgets have made paying for post-high school education more difficult than ever. More and more students are turning to their parents for help with college expenses, though many couples lack the financial ability to assist their children. Some can afford to help, but make the decision not to do so. When this happens, does a college-bound student have any recourse under the law?

Non-Minor Support for College Expenses

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does contain a provision that could allow the court to require divorced parents to contribute toward their child’s college expenses, even after the child has reached adulthood. The existence of such a law seems to create a double standard: a child whose parents are divorced can get help, but a child whose parents are still together cannot. The reality, however, is not quite that simple.

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