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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_566473759.jpg Child support payments are an essential resource for divorced or unmarried parents in Illinois. While some people believe that a parent’s moral obligation to help his or her children may last forever, the law in Illinois says that a parent’s financial responsibility to his or her child does eventually end. Parents who are paying or receiving child support may be anxious to know when, exactly, that legal obligation runs out. As with many legal questions, the answer is, “It depends.” 

When Does a Child Become an Adult? 

The law says that children become legal adults, with all the responsibility that adulthood entails, when they are 18. However, a parent’s financial responsibility for a child does not automatically end when their child turns 18. If the child is still in high school, child support payments may continue until the child graduates from high school or turns 19. Furthermore, while some child support orders include a specific date at which child support payments will end, other parents must go to court to request a termination of payments before they can stop. 

Adult Child Support

Like other states, Illinois has legal provisions requiring parents to continue paying child support into adulthood when their child is unable to provide for themselves due to a physical or intellectual disability. Non-minor child support is more flexible in its amount and duration than traditional child support, but courts take non-minor child support obligations just as seriously. Parents may be ordered to indefinitely pay for a disabled adult child’s expenses, including housing, vocational training, medical care, and more. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_619465739.jpgResearchers have spent thousands of hours with married couples, analyzing their behaviors, communication patterns, and body language to try to determine whether certain actions are predictive of divorce. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are actions that, when frequently engaged in by couples, make it easier to predict whether a marriage will eventually end. While nobody is perfect and everybody uses unhealthy communication strategies from time to time, if you recognize that the following behaviors frequently appear in your marriage, you may feel trapped and unhappy. If so, it could be time to speak with an Illinois divorce attorney. 

Criticism

Part of personal growth and development is knowing when to change your behavior. Sometimes, spouses can be helpful for gently pointing out that certain things need to change. But when your spouse regularly attacks you or your character, you will likely feel criticized and demeaned - and nobody feels good about that. For example, if your spouse does not like the way you load the dishwasher and, instead of asking you to load it differently, accuses you of always being lazy or stupid, your spouse may be overly critical. 

Defensiveness

Marital problem-solving requires spouses to take responsibility, no matter how difficult that may sometimes be. But when one spouse takes things personally or refuses to own their fair share of an issue, their defensiveness can make effective communication and problem-solving impossible. Self-victimization, whining, or otherwise trying to avoid full responsibility are also symptoms of defensiveness. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyerWhile many parts of getting divorced in Illinois are flexible, such as the exact details of how a particular couple will divide their marital property, other parts are more technical and, at the end of the day, all elements in a divorce decree must follow Illinois law. For simple divorces involving couples who have no children and no significant shared property, following the law may be easier because there are fewer complex issues to negotiate or legal statutes to interpret. 

Many versions of online divorce software have cropped up in recent years to address divorce for couples who trust their ability to follow the law and handle the divorce process themselves. Divorce is not the only legal situation for which software exists - loan agreements, prenuptial agreements, wills and trusts, and tax returns can all be set up online. While the ease and simplicity of many of these services can be beneficial and inexpensive, potential divorcees should be wary of relying on internet software to handle the entirety of their divorce. 

Mistakes Take Time and Money to Fix

Legal software is often one-size-fits-all. While it can accommodate complications to a degree, complex problems or unique situations often require professional help beyond what automatic programs can deliver. Divorce is a serious process and mistakes can be costly in terms of time and money - not only because technical errors must be addressed before the divorce can be finalized but because, if an important detail is forgotten or overlooked, the court’s future interpretation of the divorce decree can place a spouse at a significant disadvantage well into the future. 

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arlington heights divorce lawyer Divorce in Illinois is often a long process made up of many different parts that can each have their own confusing legal terms. Even for couples who try their best to work together and communicate clearly, divorce can feel stuffy and complicated and couples may feel frustrated that their private information suddenly feels very public.

One of the areas people commonly have questions about is the process of discovery, which is one of the most notorious elements of courtroom dramas. Fortunately, divorce discovery tends to be much more boring and straightforward than it might seem on TV. If you are getting divorced and have questions about the divorce process, an experienced divorce attorney can help you get answers to your questions. 

What is the Purpose of Discovery? 

For couples who do not agree on factual issues in their divorce, the discovery process allows attorneys to trade information back and forth to facilitate compromise between the spouses or prepare for courtroom litigation. Many couples never even need to use the discovery process because they can resolve disputes in mediation or between each other without professional help. But for couples who deal with issues like hidden income or assets, domestic violence, or when one parent alleges their spouse is unfit to be a parent, discovery is useful and necessary because it allows each spouse’s attorney to gather information they can then use to present an argument before a judge. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1180120867.jpgWhile divorce is rarely an easy or simple experience, for parents of young children who are disabled or have special needs, divorce can be a complex balancing act of competing priorities. Children with disabilities often require significant time and energy to be dedicated to their care and parents need to address certain elements of the divorce, like parenting schedules and child support, specifically according to the disabled child’s needs. If you are a parent of a special needs child, here are some things you may want to keep in mind. 

Child Support for Disabled Children Can Be Flexible

Child support is usually determined according to the Income Shares formula, which determines child support payments using both parents’ incomes and the amount of time they spend with each child. But when a child has special educational, developmental, or medical needs, child support can be adjusted to ensure that the financial cost of these needs is fairly divided between the parents. 

If a child’s financial needs will require significant deviation from the child support Income Shares formula, parents should be sure to take into account current expenses as well as likely future expenses, and collect evidence (such as medical bills or appointment schedules) that support the request for increased child support. 

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