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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child support

A divorce may require that child support payments continue for years after a married couple separates, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the power to modify child support orders so that they reflect any changes in Illinois law and personal circumstances. Although divorce settlements may require a spouse to pay both spousal support and child support, any modification passed by the DCSS does not apply to spousal support orders. 

Spousal support may also be eligible for modification, but you would have to bring that up with a different department. Navigating the complexities of the Illinois family court system can be challenging, so do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney with plenty of experience helping clients modify child support orders.

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child support

When divorcing or unmarried individuals have children together, one parent is typically ordered to pay child support to the other. This helps fairly divide the costs of raising the child and ensures that the child receives the same level of financial support that he or she would have received if the parents were married. The parent with the majority of parenting time, often called the custodial parent, is the recipient of child support while the parent with less parenting time is the payor of child support. However, things can become more complicated if the payor parent has more than one child support obligation.

Income Shares Method for Calculating Child Support

Illinois currently uses the Income Shares method to determine child support. This calculation method differs significantly from the way Illinois previously calculated child support. Instead of child support payment amounts being based solely on the supporting parent’s income, the Income Shares model takes both parents’ incomes into account. First, each parent’s net income is determined. Next, the parents’ combined net income and the number of children needing support are used to determine the “basic support obligation.” This is the total amount of support the children should receive from both parents. This total is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s percentage of the combined net income. In situations involving shared parenting, meaning each parent has the child for 146 or more nights a year, each parent’s parenting time is also factored into child support calculations.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe state of Illinois believes that children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children. If your child’s father refuses to pay child support, there are several things you need to know. First, in order to request a child support order from the Illinois family court system, your child’s father must be formally established. There are several ways to accomplish this. Secondly, only child support orders established through the court can be legally enforced. Illinois courts do not have the authority to enforce informal child support orders. If you need help establishing paternity or child support or enforcing a current child support order, a qualified family law attorney can help.

How Do I Officially Establish Paternity?

If you and the child’s father were not married at the time your child was born, the state does not assume paternity. In such a situation, there are three ways that you can establish paternity. First, you and the father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and file this document with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). However, if your child’s father does not admit that he is the father of your child, you may not be able to convince him to sign this document. The second way to establish paternity is to pursue an Administrative Paternity Order through the DHFS. Lastly, you can request an Order of Paternity to be established through the court. The father may be required to submit to DNA testing in order to establish that he is indeed the biological father of your children.

How Do I Get Child Support After Paternity Has Been Established?

After the legal relationship between your child and your child’s father is established, you will be able to pursue child support through the DHFS. If you already have a child support order but your child’s father is not paying, he faces several serious consequences. Child support nonpayment in Illinois is punishable by wage garnishments, property liens, driver’s license suspension, and more. In extreme cases, a father who does not pay court-ordered child support can be sentenced to jail. For help establishing child support for the first time or enforcing a current child support order, contact a family law attorney who is experienced in handling child support nonpayment issues.

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Arlington Heights divorce and child custody attorney

A divorce can be considered a good decision for some family units. However, when there is a child involved, the process can sometimes become contentious. Illinois law allows for parents to set up a schedule for child custody, now referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities.” These are all based on what is in the best interest of the child.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

Most of the time parents agree to the terms of the allocation of parental responsibilities in court. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then a judge will decide which parent will act in the best interest of the child. The court will decide which parent--or sometimes both--can make the best choice for the child in many different areas, including:

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