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Illinois Child Support, Geneva Family Law Attorney, DCSSDuring a divorce or legal separation, the law requires a number of considerations to be addressed before the proceedings may be completed. While arrangements regarding such issues as property division and spousal maintenance are certainly pertinent, child custody and visitation provisions, and child support orders are among the most important concerns for parent. Once established, a child support order is likely to remain in force for years into the future.

As discussed in a previous post, the terms of a child support order are established in accordance with state law, taking into account the family’s current situation. For a period of time, the initial order may work perfectly to address the needs of the involved children, relative to the financial resources and requirements of both parents. Life, however, can be unpredictable, and a family may find that an existing support order has become untenable or no longer appropriate for a number reasons. Fortunately, in many cases, Illinois law allows for the modification of a support order if and when the need should arise.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is responsible for overseeing child support awards in the state to ensure they are in accordance with the law and continue to meet the needs of involved families. At least every three years, DCSS is required to notify each parent affected by a support order of his or her right to request a modification review. An order may also qualify for a review under certain other conditions:

Child Support, Geneva Family Law AttorneyAccording to recent Census estimates, approximately 20 million children in the United States live in a single parent home. Of that number, which represents nearly 45 percent of all American children, some 15 million are being raised by a single mother. While the socio-economic causes and effects can be endlessly debated, the fact remains that each one of those children has the right to be support by both parents regardless of living arrangement. For a large number of such cases, a legally enforceable child support order may be the most appropriate approach.

Under current Illinois law, either or both parents can be required to contribute financially to the support of the child, “without regard to marital misconduct.” Situations in which both parents pay support are relatively uncommon, as the child will usually reside with at least one parent. As such most support orders require payment of child support by the non-custodial parent.

The recommended guidelines regarding the expected amount of child support are fairly straightforward. Based on the payor’s net income, the law calculates support as a percentage relative to the number of children included in the support action. A typical child support order would require an obliged payor to pay:

Kane County Family Law Attorney, Child's Best Interest, Custody and VisitationSeparation and divorce can obviously have a tremendous impact on children. Once a child custody or visitation order is established, the affected children must adapt to new living arrangements, often spending time with each parent. The process of establishing a custody or visitation order, however, can be extremely complicated as many parents find it difficult to get beyond their own emotional turbulence on focus on their children.

If the parents in such a situation are unable to negotiate an acceptable arrangement regarding their children, the outcome may be left to the discretion of the court. As the case is litigated, though, contentiousness and hostility can cause some parents to lose sight of their child’s best interest and, in the worst cases, attempt to use their child as leverage against the other parent.

In Illinois, fortunately, state law permits the court to take action when necessary to ensure the best interests of the child are being pursued in any proceeding related to custody, visitation, or any other interest involving child welfare. In many cases, the court may elect to appoint a qualified attorney to serve as guardian ad litem for the duration of the case.

Kane County family law attorney, shared custody, child custodyDivorce is rarely easy for any couple. For a couple with children, divorce often represents merely the beginning of a new reality which includes shared custody arrangements and coparenting. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, it can be understandably difficult for many individuals to cooperate with their ex-spouse. However, child development and relationship experts maintain that being able to put aside or work through differences can have a significant positive impact on the health and happiness of the children.

While either parent may maintain primary custody following a divorce or separation, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 80 percent of custodial parents are mothers. This figure includes families with equal joint- or shared custody arrangements, which have become increasingly common as custodial mothers continue to work rather than relying solely on alimony or support awards. Shared custody typically means that children will be spending time at each parent’s home according to some sort of arranged schedule. Whether you are the primary custodial parent or not, there are some things you can do to help your child be more at ease with a potentially unsettling situation.

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child custody battles, child custody case, children of divorce, homeschooling, primary custody, emotional developmentWhen married couples with children go through a divorce, one of the decisions that needs to be made is how the custody of the children will be divided. More often than not, couples do not agree on the answer to this question and a judge has to make the decision for the parents. In determining custody, one of the main criteria courts follow is what is in the best interests of a child. However, there are issues involving child custody that come up where a judge’s bias may affect his or her decision. In fact, home schooling is one area in which this may occur. It is often an issue that can divide people, and judges are no exception.

Part of the debate over home schooling is not only whether or not a child is receiving the same quality of education they would in a public institution, but also whether or not they miss out on the interacting and socialization with other children—which is important for their emotional development.

In a recent child custody case that took place in Kansas, a mother wanted to home-school her children; however, a judge awarded primary custody to the father. Among the main reasons he cited for his decision was the fact that the father “. . . appears to understand that the benefits of education aren’t just what you learn, it’s—the socialization and interaction with other students, which are important, that cannot be achieved by home schooling.”

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