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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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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. 

Child custody is one of the most important and contentious elements in a divorce. Custody (now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois) may be only part of the battle, as many spouses will attempt to avoid paying child support. If you are looking to secure child support payments from your former spouse, you need the help of a skilled and aggressive legal team. 

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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.

Determining Who Pays What and to Whom

Once it is determined how much should be spent in total on the children each month, it must then be determined how much of that support obligation each person is responsible for -- and who will be paying whom. The calculation is fairly simple -- each parent’s percentage of their combined monthly income is the same percentage of the basic support obligation that the parent would be responsible for. The parent with the minority of the parenting time (sometimes called the non-residential parent) will typically pay their portion of the obligation to the other parent.

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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.

Child support amounts are determined from a table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS), which takes the combined monthly net income of the parents and assigns a corresponding support figure which increases according to the number of children the parents share. Each parent is responsible for a portion of this amount based on how much they contribute to the combined income.

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