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Oak Park child support attorneyChildren deserve to receive financial support from both of their parents, whether a mother and father are married, unmarried, or divorced. In order to help unmarried or divorced parents share the costs of raising a child, a court may order one parent to make child support payments to the other. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the “Income Shares” method, which takes both parents’ financial circumstances into consideration. If a parent fails to fulfill his or her child support obligations, he or she can face serious civil and even criminal consequences. Child support orders may be modified later if one of the parents experiences a “substantial change in circumstances” that necessitates the change.

The “Income Shares” Model for Calculating Child Support

Before major changes were made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in 2017, child support was determined using a simple percentage of the paying parent’s income. For example, if a parent had two children with an ex-spouse, he or she would pay a monthly child support payment that was 28 percent of his or her monthly take-home income. Currently, however, Illinois uses a different model to calculate child support. This calculation method takes both parents’ net incomes, as well as the amount of parenting time each parent has, into consideration in order to arrive at an amount that is fair and reasonable. 

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Hillside family law attorney for legal separationA married person may consider divorce as an option for leaving a stressful or unhappy relationship and getting a fresh start. Agreeing to dissolve a marriage can be a difficult choice, since a person may be unwilling to give up the unity and love that brought the couple together. The divorce process will require spouses to identify and resolve the legal issues that must be addressed when ending their marriage, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody), child support, and the division of marital property. However, the complexity that might be involved in resolving these matters could be a negative for some couples, and ending the marriage could also lead to unwanted attention or embarrassment for either spouse. For spouses who are considering divorce but are unsure about whether to proceed with the end of their marriage, consulting with a skilled family law attorney could identify some alternative options.      

Can Marriage Counseling Be Beneficial?

Working together with a marriage counselor is an option that a couple may be willing to try once issues arise that threaten the relationship. However, the success of these types of sessions will depend on the amount of time and effort each spouse is willing to put in. While counseling may help some couples save their marriage, research has shown that approximately 38% of married couples get divorced within four years of attending marital counseling.

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Hillside child support lawyer

When a couple begins the divorce process, it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions. On one hand, a divorce can represent a new opportunity at happiness. On the other, a divorce is a separation from someone you once thought you would spend the rest of your life with. When children are involved, a divorce can be especially emotional. 

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Oak Park child support attorneySometimes, even the so-called “simplest” divorces, where the parties have no children, can be stressful and tedious. But if you add children-related issues in a divorce, you have an entirely different set of issues which must be addressed before you can finalize your divorce. One of those issues is child support, which is a very important subject for many divorcing couples, especially if one parent has the children more often than the other. Child support is the financial obligation that both parents have to their children, and it is important that each parent pays his or her fair share.

Calculating the Basic Child Support Obligation

First, each parent’s monthly net income is calculated. Then, both of the parents’ net incomes are added together. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS) is the governing body that deals with child support calculations, and they periodically publish guidelines for calculating child support based on parents’ combined income. The IDHFS’s basic child support obligation table lists a child support obligation amount that corresponds with parents’ combined income and the number of children they have. This number is what the state of Illinois considers to be the total amount that parents at that income level are expected to provide for their children.

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Hillside child support attorney divorce paternityWhen an unmarried couple has a child but later splits up, or when a married couple gets a divorce, or when a couple was not in a relationship to begin with, it is typically necessary to set up child support in which one parent makes a recurring payment to the other parent for the benefit of the child. While this is often achieved without difficulty, that is not always the case.

Child Support for Divorced Parents 

During the divorce process, child support is one of the most important child-related issues to resolve, along with the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly referred to as custody) and parenting time (previously called visitation). In 2017, Illinois adopted what is known as an “income-sharing model” for calculating child support, in an attempt to allow children to maintain the same standard of living as they would have if their parents were married.

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