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Kane County family law attorneysWhen you are responsible for making child support payments, virtually every financial decision you make can affect your ability to meet your obligations. This is especially true if you are considering a job or a career change, as your income is very likely to change. While an increase in your income can be a good thing, a decrease could make it impossible for you to comply with your child support requirements. You may be able to petition the court for an order modification, but depending upon the circumstances of your employment, your request could be denied.

Illinois Law

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an order for child support may be amended upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Losing a job, starting a new one, a significant promotion or demotion, and a complete career change could all create a significant difference in your monthly and annual income. The law recognizes a change in employment status as one of the possible causes for a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of pursuing an order modification.

Good Faith

Everyone has made choices in their lives that have had a negative outcome, despite being made for the right reasons. Your intentions are an extremely important consideration when seeking a child support order modification, particularly if your income has decreased. If you simply walked away from a steady job with no current, realistic prospects, you are not likely to be granted relief. Similarly, if you were dismissed from your job for inappropriate or destructive behavior, or lack of production due to your own fault, your support obligation will probably not be reduced.

Kane County family law attorneyChild support is intended to help parents provide for their minor children. Generally, an order for child support will terminate once the child turns 18 years old. If the child is still enrolled in high school at age 18, the child support is extended through age 19. However, there are some instances where child support orders can extend past the usual age 18 or 19 cutoff.

A child who is physically or mentally disabled may not be able to care for himself or herself and will therefore need the assistance of a parent or guardian well into adulthood. In cases such as these, courts may order one or both parents to continue to contribute to support. These support orders can last as long as the court finds necessary to secure the disabled child’s quality of life.

Not Every Disability Necessitates Ongoing Support

Kane County child support attorneyWhen a couple with children divorces, the parent with less parental responsibility and parenting time is often ordered to pay child support by the court. Such a parent must make periodic payments to the other parent in order to help with child-rearing expenses. Since 1988, Illinois has allowed court-ordered child support payments to be paid through automatic income withholding. The amount of money that can be deducted from the payor’s paycheck is based on the Income Shares model. This method of determining child support takes into consideration both parents' incomes as well as the amount of parenting time and parental responsibility each parent has.

When a Parent Does Not Pay His or Her Required Child Support

Sometimes, for a countless number of reasons, parents are unable or unwilling to pay their court-ordered child support. When this occurs, the recipient parent, meaning the parent with more parental responsibility who is due support payments, can petition the court to address the problem. The state of Illinois has the authority to take child support obligations from other periodic payments such as worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits.

Geneva family law attorneyDivorce is a different experience for everyone who goes through it. The particulars of how a marriage ends can be based on many factors including the financial situation of each spouse, the length of the marriage, if children are involved, and more. If you are planning to get divorced and you are the primary breadwinner of the couple, there are some special considerations that you should take note of.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, refers to the payments that the higher-earning spouse pays to the lower-earning spouse after a divorce. Spousal maintenance in Illinois is determined on a case-by-case scenario for couples who have a large discrepancy in either income or life circumstances. If you make significantly more money than your soon-to-be-ex-spouse or they have been out of the workforce for a while, you might have to pay spousal maintenance. The amount the payments will be determined by the length and standard of living of the marriage, the spouses’ income and property, the present and future earning capacity of each spouse, and more. Maintenance payments can be temporary or permanent, but are not required after the person receiving maintenance remarries. 

Geneva family law attorneyA parent has a legal obligation to support his or her children. This is true even in the midst of a divorce. Depending on any the situation, a person may have an obligation to help support his or her (soon-to-be) ex-spouse as well. However, many people confuse the two obligations, when in reality child support and maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support) are very different, not least of all because the right to collect belongs to different parties.

Child Support

Child support is a right that belongs to a child, not their parents, though the actual payments may be received and administered by the child’s parent. It is defined as court-ordered payments usually made by the parent with fewer parental responsibilities or less parenting time to help support his or her children. In Illinois, the obligation to pay support exists, if ordered, until that child turns 18 years old. If the child is still attending high school at that age, however, the support obligation is extended until they either graduate or turn 19, whichever comes first.

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