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Barrington child support lawyerA non-custodial parent who is ordered by a judge to pay child support may experience feelings of contempt and hostility toward his or her former partner. These strong emotions do not necessarily occur because a parent does not want to provide financially for his or her children, but they often result from a loss of control over one’s finances. With no way of knowing what those child support payments are being used for, a parent may worry about whether they are actually going toward the daily living expenses of the child or are being used to pay for other costs incurred by the custodial parent. A non-custodial may also wonder why he or she may be required to pay additional expenses as part of his or her child support obligations. So, what does child support actually pay for?

Basic Child Support Obligations

In Illinois, all parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially until the time a child turns 18. This support is meant to provide for the basic living expenses of the child, including food, clothing, housing and other basic needs. Essentially, child support payments are meant to provide for the child’s needs in a way that replicates a two-parent household. However, in addition to this basic support obligation, non-custodial parents may also be required to provide additional financial support that meets children’s other needs. 

Additional Child Support Obligations

While a basic child support obligation is meant to provide for a child’s daily living expenses, Illinois law outlines four categories for additional child support above and beyond the basic obligation:

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Palatine Family Lawyers

Child support is a relevant issue in any divorce that involves children under the age of 18. Once a judge issues an order for child support, that order is legally binding. If child support is not paid, the courts may find the non-paying parent in contempt of court. There are times, however, when a parent has a problem paying their child support payments. In these instances, is it possible to modify a child support order? It is possible, but it is not always easy.

Determining Child Support Payments

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Schaumburg divorce lawyer college expensesDivorced parents rightly assume that their obligation to pay child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. Financially supporting a child until he/she is legally able to engage in full time employment makes sense from a practical and legal perspective; however, many children go on to attend college and obtain a degree, causing them to incur the sky-high cost of a college education in America.

Unless a child receives a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, board, books and other expenses, the financial assistance of their parents is often necessary to help pay for their college education. Paying for college is a struggle for many parents, and divorced parents face the added pressure of juggling this cost while maintaining separate households. 

While educational expenses for primary-level instruction are included in child support formulas, college expenses are not. If a parent wants to ensure that the other party helps cover the costs of a child’s college education, they will need to file a petition requesting contribution toward college expenses. 

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child support order, Palatine child support attorney, child support paymentsEither parent has the right to ask for a change in his or her Illinois child support payments if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order. There are certain types of changes that might qualify as a substantial change in circumstances. Depending on the situation, the Court can decrease or increase the amount of the child support payments.

What Qualifies as a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

There are a number of different situations that might constitute a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of a modifying a child support order. Sometimes, these situations might result in a decrease in a child support obligation:

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Palatine family law attorney, International Child Support ConventionPresident Obama recently signed the instrument of ratification for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The purpose of this Convention is to establish uniform, simplified, cost-free rules and procedures for processing child support cases on an international level. Ratification of this Convention is groundbreaking; prior to the Convention, there were no standardized and efficient procedures for international child support cases, and each country had different costly and time-consuming procedures to follow. This Convention represents the first global child support treaty ratified by the United States. Now, American children who have a parent living in a foreign country who is party to the Convention will have additional recourse to collect the financial support that they need in a much more timely manner.

Application of the Convention

There are an estimated 15 million child support cases in the United States, with about 150,000 international child support cases. The newly ratified Convention addresses financial obligations that arise from a relationship between parent and his or her child who is under 21 years of age. In addition to child support, the Convention also contains enforcement procedures for spousal support.

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​calculating Illinois child support, Palatine Family Law AttorneyIllinois requires parents to financially support their children. Therefore, when a child's parents are divorced, separated or single, state law governs child support payments and how the support payments will be made. A child’s parents may come to an agreement regarding how to pay child support; however, the agreement must meet minimum standards as required by state law.

Calculation Guidelines

Basic Illinois child support is calculated as a percentage of the payor parent’s net income after certain deductions are made. The percentage increases with the number of children:

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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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parenting, child custody, right of first refusal, Illinois child custody lawOne of the sad realities of divorce is that each parent has less time to spend with their children. But in 2013, the Illinois legislature passed a law that would maximize the amount of time parents can spend with their children, regardless of the final division of child custody. The new law, which amended the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, went into effect on January 1, 2014, and allows the Court to grant parents a right of first refusal for child care in child custody and visitation agreements.

The Right of First Refusal in Child Custody Cases

A right of first refusal gives the non-custodial parent (the parent who is not currently caring for the child) the right to provide child care if the other parent needs a babysitter or other child care provider. For example, if the mother has primary custody but must put the children in daycare during the week while she works, she must first offer the father the opportunity to care for the children. If the father accepts, then he will be able to care for the children while the mother is at work, without the extra time being counted against his regularly scheduled visitation. If the father refuses, then the mother is free to put the children in daycare.

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