Is Your Child Support Agreement Helping Or Hurting Your Finances?
It is expected in any parentage or divorce case that involves children, that child custody (now considered allocation of parental responsibilities) and child support arrangements must be worked out. Regardless of which parent has a majority of parenting time, each parent is responsible for the financial support of the children in accordance with Illinois law and based on the best interests of the child. A certain amount of support is generally required to be paid by the non-custodial parent to help cover the living and education expenses for the child. Heath care, child care and other essential expenses may also be included in the divorce agreement.
Child support is not always just a simple calculation. In many cases, factors such as taxation, small business income, unreported income, and whether certain deductions are eligible, come in to play. At Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, we have extensive experience in child support matters of all kinds and are able to address even the most complicated child support issues. We negotiate support agreements while keeping the best interests of our clients in mind, and if necessary, we advocate aggressively for our clients at all levels of the court system.
Some of the child support issues we help clients with include:
- Securing support agreements as part of a divorce or paternity proceeding;
- Identifying hidden assets or sources of income that may impact the amount of support awarded by the court; and
- Modifications and enforcement of child support orders in post-decree proceedings.
There Are New Changes To Child Support Laws
In July of 2017, a revision to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect redefining the guidelines for how child support is calculated. While the guidelines under the previous version of the law were based on the income of the non-residential parent, the updated statute now takes both parents’ incomes into account.
To determine the amount of child support payments, courts will first determine each parent’s net income using a Gross to Net Income Conversion Table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). These incomes will be added together to determine the parents’ combined net income, and an Income Shares Schedule provided by Illinois HFS will be used to determine the amount of a child’s basic support obligation for that combined income range. This amount will then be divided between the parents based on the amount that each parent contributes to the combined income. If each parent has at least 146 overnight stays with their children each year, the court will perform additional calculations to determine each parent’s child support obligation based on the percentage of parenting time they have with their children.
These guidelines apply without regard to marital misconduct and/or who is at fault for the divorce. However, there are other factors that can be considered (based on the best interests of the child) to deviate from these guidelines, including:
- The mental, emotional, and physical needs of the child;
- The educational needs of the child;
- The finances and needs of the primary residential parent;
- The finances and needs of the child;
- The finances and needs of the non-residential parent; and
- The established standard of living of the child during the marriage.
In general, child support obligations end when the child graduates from high school or turns 19. Support can end before this time if the child becomes emancipated; such as if the child is married or joins the military. On the other hand, support may continue past the age of 19 if the child is disabled or has post-secondary education expenses.
Provide For Your Child While Protecting Your Financial Future
If you need high quality legal counsel for your child support case in Will County, contact Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, today at 815-770-2669, or write to us online. From our office in Joliet, our experienced family law attorneys serve clients in communities throughout Will County and Grundy County Illinois.