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Hoffman Estates child support attorneySeparated or divorced parents have a lot on their plates in terms of providing the emotional and financial support a child needs to thrive. While a physical and emotional connection with parents is integral to a child’s development, a court cannot force a parent to have a genuine and meaningful relationship with his or her child. A judge can, however, compel a parent to pay child support, regardless of the quality of the parent/child relationship.

Child support is a right owed to the child, and a parent cannot shirk this responsibility as long as the law recognizes the person as the child’s legal parent. Further, the type of relationship the child’s parents have with one another, whether it be as husband and wife, live-in girlfriend/boyfriend, or former partners who were never married, has no bearing on the legal parent’s ongoing obligation to provide support until the child reaches the age of 18.

A common question connected with child support orders is how they are established, or more specifically, who may initiate an action for child support, and what is the process followed for establishing a legally enforceable obligation? 

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Arlington Heights child support enforcement lawyerGetting the financial support a child needs to do well is a priority for all parents who receive this money. Often, this parent is the child’s primary caregiver, meaning without child support from the other parent, they would be solely responsible for the high cost of raising the child. Being a single parent has enough burdens without the added stress of not receiving regular child support and finding oneself struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the child is the one who is the most negatively affected by this situation because the non-payment of child support means the child must forego certain opportunities.

The state of Illinois has a vested interested in both parents supporting their children and offers a number of enforcement options to compel payment. A standard consequence of failing to pay child support is the suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver’s license. However, starting this year, the penalty for being caught driving on a suspended license related to unpaid child support was reduced to a petty crime. Petty crimes are purely fineable offenses, whereas misdemeanors, the former classification for license suspension related to child support, could include jail time. Thus, the delinquent parent has less incentive to become compliant because the consequences for not paying are now lower. Child support enforcement should still be pursued, but this new change is worth noting.

Court Enforcement 

Child support orders, whether issued as part of divorce or paternity proceedings, are not something a parent can choose to ignore without facing consequences. The parent receiving support is entitled to seek enforcement with the courts to secure this right for the child. The primary way a parent can ask the court to enforce a child support order is to submit a petition for contempt. Violating a court order is not permissible, and a judge can order a delinquent parent to settle the arrears that includes interest after 30 days, or the parent may face jail time until some portion of the amount due is paid. Probation may also be ordered, and if jailed, but released to work, a parent may have his/her wages garnished to settle the overdue amount. In addition, if the parent owns a business, the court can order the seizure of these assets to put toward the back child support.

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Barrington child support lawyerOne of the primary challenges of being a single parent is finding the money to provide for all of a child’s needs. Divorce and separation can drastically change the financial means of the child’s primary caregiver, and the law expects that both parents will contribute to the financial support of the child until adulthood.

In the abstract, this ongoing obligation seems logically appropriate and fairly easy to arrange, assuming both parents can cooperate. In practice, however, parents may need to fight to establish and enforce child support, and they can face significant obstacles when child support orders are ignored by the other parent.

A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times noted that there are millions of dollars in overdue child support owed to children living in Illinois. Unfortunately, the child is the person who most suffers when financial support is withheld, as well as the one who will most feel the burden of having less than what he or she really needs. The most effective and fastest route to receiving regular child support is to work with an experienced family law attorney who has the means and knowledge to ask the courts to take action designed to ensure compliance. 

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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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Posted on in Child Support

enforcing child support in Illinois, Palatine family law attorneyChild support is important for parents’ and children’s financial stability, but sometimes, the payor parent fails to make payments. In Illinois, the custodial parent has several enforcement options. The parent may garnish the nonpaying parent’s wages, seek contempt charges in court or seek driver’s license suspension. Parents also have other options for enforcement through the courts or by reporting the nonpayment to Child Support Services.

Liens

Since a child support order is a Court Order, unpaid child support judgments may be enforced by the same methods as any other judgment. The Court may place a lien on the delinquent parent’s bank accounts; real estate; cars; lawsuit settlements, including workers’ compensation claims or other assets. If the parent does not pay the child support amount, the sheriff may seize the parent’s property, sell it and pay the custodial parent out of the proceeds.

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failure to pay child support, Palatine child support attorneyThe divorce is finalized and child support, and custody orders are in place. Your ex has always been sporadic about making child support payments — some are on time, others are late. Yet the late payments are double what is required in order to make up for the missing payments. However, months have passed since you have received a check, and your ex will not return your calls.

What can be done to enforce payment, and what are the potential ramifications for your ex-spouse?

Illinois Child Support Enforcement

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million dollar child support, Illinois divorce attorneyThe newest twist in the divorce of a Chicago hedge fund owner and his wife is her alleged request for $1 million a month in child support for their three children. To all but the most wealthy families (and even to most of them) $1 million per month seems excessive. But it raises the question, if child support is based on statutory guidelines, how can one parent request a certain amount of support, and what would it take for the Court to award it?

Children of Divorce Entitled to Same Lifestyle

Child support is based on a statutory formula that takes into consideration the net income of the obligor (the parent paying support) and the number of children to be supported. Once the Court determines the obligor’s net income, he/she must pay a percentage of his/her monthly net income based on the number of children he/she has. For example, an obligor with three children must pay 32 percent of the monthly net income.

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child-related expenses, Palatine child support attorneyIf you have children, getting divorced means you are never truly free of your ex. The child custody and child support agreements mean you will, at minimum, be dealing with your ex when it comes to exchanging the children for visitation and dealing with support payments.

Yet while those child support payments are determined by a statutory formula based on the parents’ income, deductions and the child custody schedule itself, there are several other child-related expenses that an agreement does not always cover. Hence, this means a lot of unnecessary friction that can often land parents back in court.

Payment of Child-Related Costs: There is an App for That

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child support orders, college expenses, college expenses and divorce, educational expenses, Nicholas W. Richardson, Palatine child support attorneyMost parents hope that their children attend college or vocational school after high school graduation, and many want to help their children pay expenses associated with earning that higher education. But with 57.4 percent of all Illinois high school graduates going directly to college, are parents required to pay for their child’s college education? Or does their child support duty end when the child turns 18?

Support for Non-Minor Child’s Educational Expenses in Illinois

In most Illinois child support orders, the obligor parent (the one ordered to pay support) is no longer required to make payments once his or her child graduates from high school or turns 19. However, in some instances, the Court can order child support payments to be paid toward a child’s educational expenses, including college or other professional training.

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