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Oak Park IL family law attorneyIn Illinois, parents are legally required to provide financial support for their children until they turn 18 or graduate from high school, whichever comes later. When parents are no longer in a romantic relationship, even the smallest of child support issues can lead to major conflict. There are many reasons why a parent may be behind on child support payments, but when they miss payments purposefully, there are certain things the other parent can do to try to recover the missing amount.

Notification of Delinquency

One option when the other parent is not paying support is to notify the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). After receiving notice, the DCSS will begin to monitor the paying parent’s account. Before any actions can be taken, however, the DCSS must first notify the non-compliant parent of the delinquent status of their account and the resulting actions the Division may take. This allows the non-compliant parent a chance to explain why their payments are overdue and to confirm whether the amount due is correct.

Potential Remedies for Late Child Support Payments

If the paying parent is subsequently notified that DCSS action is going to be taken against them, DCSS can use several methods of recovering support for unpaid obligations, including:

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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. 

To calculate the amount of child support payments, each parent’s net income is established by taking their gross income and subtracting certain deductions, such as taxes, health insurance premiums, mandatory retirement contributions, and previous child support or spousal support obligations. Next, the total amount of money needed to support the child is determined based on the amount parents who earn that combined income would typically spend to support the number of children they share. Finally, this cost is split proportionally between the parents based on their net incomes. The parent who has the majority of parenting time will typically be the recipient of child support, and the other parent will be the payor.

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