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wrongful death, Palatine IL child support lawyersCalculating child support is one of the most important aspects of a custody case, as the result has the significant likelihood of affecting a child’s life for years to come. Often, a change in one of the parents’ financial circumstances, such as a new employment opportunity, requires courts to reevaluate that person’s monetary contribution. In a recently issued opinion, an Illinois Court of Appeals clarified what constitutes a material change in circumstances such that child support must be modified.

In re Marriage of Fortner

In 2002, Rob Fortner and Shelley S. Scanlan were married and subsequently had a child. In 2003, the couple separated, and an Illinois court ordered that Mr. Fortner pay $313.11 a month in child support. In 2014, Mr. Fortner successfully brought a wrongful death claim against the hospital that treated his father during a fatal heart attack. After deductions for attorney’s fees and other costs of litigation, Mr. Fortner received $169,725.48. Ms. Scanlan then filed a motion to modify child support based on Mr. Fortner’s changed circumstances, although Mr. Fortner argued that the settlement did not constitute increased income for purposes of child support allocation.

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Posted on in Child Support

Palatine family law attorney, child support, imputed incomeChild support determinations can be filled with tension, and the amount of support is often hotly contested. Child support calculations in Illinois are based on each parent’s earnings, and sometimes, one parent tries to evade responsibility for support payments by hiding income.

Imputing Income

If the judge in a child support proceeding suspects that one parent is trying to avoid paying child support, Illinois law has a mechanism to ensure fairness — imputing income. When a Court imputes income, a parent is assigned a higher income for purposes of calculating child support. This action is appropriate when there is doubt as to the accuracy of the parent’s reported income and evidence shows that the parent is or could be earning more than reported.

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Palatine family law attorney, non-minor children with disabilitiesIn many states, parents are not legally required to provide child support for their disabled, non-minor children. In Illinois, however, a recent amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) enabled Courts to allocate funds from the income or property of either or both parties to a divorce, for the maintenance of any adult children with mental or physical disabilities.

Disability

Under the amended law, a disabled person is an individual who:

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non-minor educational support, Palatine Family Law AttorneyIn Illinois, Courts have discretion to include, as part of a child support order, a requirement that parents contribute toward post-secondary education expenses of their non-minor children. Historically, the guidelines for determining whether such support could be required were vague and confusing. The passage of the Family Law Reform Bill addresses these concerns by creating a new protocol for determining when non-minor support is appropriate.

Existing Law

The current version of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows a Court to order educational support for a child, including college or professional training expenses, as part of a custody agreement. Previously, Courts were only instructed to consider the following when making their determination:

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Posted on in Child Support

child support bill, Palatine Family Law AttorneyFor children whose parents are separated, and for the parents who have custody over them, child support is key to financial stability. However, if parents fall behind in their child support payments, they can cause their children and co-parents economic distress.

However, a new Bill, recently signed into law, addresses these issues. The Bill is aimed at ensuring that children and their parents receive timely child support payments by studying the root causes of the failure to pay child support. Additionally, the Bill calls for policy recommendations on how to address these root causes and how to streamline the child support system.

The Bill

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