Serving clients throughout Will County, including Mokena, New Lenox, Tinley Park, and Surrounding Communities
If you are dealing with a child support matter, I can help. Please call me to learn about your rights, and how Illinois law will affect your case.
Child support involves the payment of money from one parent to another parent to be used for the welfare of a child or children, such as for living expenses. Recently, the formula for determining who pays support, and how much is paid, was changed. Illinois joins other states in adopting the “income shares” model of child support. Although the calculations can be complicated, the general idea is that the totality of the circumstances is considered. However, how much parenting time each parent has also plays a large part in determining the support amount.
How is child support determined?
The amount of child support that a parent receives will be based on the new “income shares” model that considers many factors.
This new formula helps courts to determine a starting point for calculating child support. Once I meet with you, I can explain how this formula works and how it may apply to your situation.
These formulas are only a starting point; there are many factors that may require increased support. For example, in the case of a special needs child who needs specialized care or treatment, the amount of support awarded by the court may be higher than the award specified in the formula.
It’s important to understand that courts look first and foremost at the welfare of the child or children. It is not an excuse for nonpayment, for example, if a parent does not have a job. The court will expect parents to get a job, unless there is an extenuating circumstance where the parent cannot work.
Further, courts will not award decreased support payments so that a parent can live a particular lifestyle. In other words, child support payments will be considered first and foremost and a parent will need to live on whatever amount of income remains, not vice versa.
Additionally, child support is NOT a penalty on the parent providing support. The amount of support is determined by the court with an eye towards the best interests of the children.
What if I’m not receiving court ordered support payments?
Violations of support orders are taken very seriously in Illinois. Failure to follow a support order can come with a variety of penalties. A contempt action can result in wage garnishment, money judgments, or possibly incarceration for the offending party. Furthermore, it is within the judge’s discretion to award attorney’s fees to the party seeking enforcement of a child support order.
Can the amount of child support be changed?
Under certain circumstances, support amounts may be modified. There needs to have been a substantial material change in the position of either a parent or child. Circumstances such as injury, loss of a job, or illness may require the modification of support amounts.
However, as noted above, courts expect parents to provide for the appropriate welfare of their children. So, in the case of a job loss, courts will expect the parent to find a new job, and will usually not take into consideration whether the job pays as much as the previous job. They will also not expect a parent to take a prolonged leave of absence from the job market in order to find a new ideal job.
In some cases, though, modifications to support payments may be necessary, such as changes in a child’s needs, a parent’s financial situation, a parent’s employment, the ability to work, or a parent’s health.
Let me help with your support needs
If you are facing child support payments or need help enforcing a child support order, contact me today for a consultation.