Making Sure You Get the Child Support You Need

There are numerous reasons why you may not be receiving appropriate child support payments in Illinois. First and foremost, have you asked for child support? Did you work with a proven divorce attorney to set up a legally binding child support order? In some cases, you may be dealing with a parent who is unwilling to pay child support or a noncustodial spouse claiming they can’t afford to pay. No matter your particular situation, a lawyer tends to be the easiest and most effective way to get child support in the fallout of a divorce.

According to the 2015 United States Census Bureau, around 13.6 million custodial parents are caring for 22.4 million children under the age of 21 living in a single-parent home. Of these, less than 43.5% of custodial parents received full child support payments in 2015.

Legal Guidance for Getting Child Support in Illinois

Often the first step in child support cases is establishing fatherhood. If the parents were not married when the child or children were born, paternity testing may be necessary. In divorce cases, the relationship between parents is often strained, making custody, child support, and other conflicts more intense and less productive than they should be. A seasoned divorce lawyer in Chicago or Oak Park can help to bridge the gap. It is important to note, that while an attorney can help with communication issues throughout the process, the children will be better off in the long run if the parents learn to communicate with each other for the benefit of the minor child or children.

If you’re seeking professional help with family law in Chicago, the experienced attorneys at Conniff Law Offices are here for you. In addition to helping facilitate a smoother, more effective transition, our team is extremely familiar with the ins and outs of child support requirements in Cook County, DuPage County, and Lake County, Illinois. Your divorce lawyer in Oak Park or Chicago will guide you in determining the appropriate amount of child support to ask for based on Illinois’ income sharing guidelines, which are detailed below. The income shares model takes into account both parents’ income, the amount of time spent with the children, and the number of children.

Illinois Child Support: Income Shares

As of July 1, 2017, Illinois is using income sharing to determine the appropriate amount of child support. Income sharing takes into account the noncustodial parent’s income, the custodial parent’s income, the number of children you have together, the actual cost to raise the child or children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children. 

Updating to the income sharing model has modernized Illinois’ child support process and made it easier for parents to feel a sense of fairness in the amount of support paid, as it is based on both parents’ income and the actual cost to raise a child, as opposed to the old method of taking a certain percentage of the payer’s net income.

For an estimate of the child support you may receive, utilize the online income shares calculator from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Child Support vs. Spousal Maintenance

It is important to note that child support is separate and different from alimony (also referred to as spousal maintenance). Often, enforcing child support is easier than enforcing alimony. 

Spousal maintenance payments are intended for the ongoing expenses of the spouse receiving them, and are based on the reasonable needs of that spouse. 

Child support payments are intended for the benefit of the child or children from the marriage. It is based on the income of both parents, the needs of the child or children, and the cost to raise the child or children.

Enforcing Child Support by Court Order

It is possible to reach a suitable child support settlement agreement outside of court. However, in the State of Illinois, the Court must still review and approve the terms of your agreement to ensure they meet Illinois’ child support guidelines as described in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Once approved by the Judge and entered as an order of the Court, the agreement becomes the binding court order for child support.

Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is the key to getting the child support you need to properly care for your family. The attorneys at Conniff Law Offices can help move you through the process in a timely manner, while also ensuring each step of your child support case goes smoothly. We apply our core values of Compassion, Excellence, and Discretion to every case we work with. Contact us today to learn more about getting the child support you need, with help from our family law experts in Chicago and Oak Park.

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