Child Support Lawyers in Downers Grove Helping You Determine Financial Support Obligations
Being a parent is one of the most rewarding parts of life. During marriage, you and your spouse likely split the expenses of your children, paying for medical expenses, child care, and other basic needs as a team. But after a divorce or separation, both parents must decide how much support they will each provide separately.
Coming to a child support agreement can be a complicated process on top of an already stressful divorce case. Fortunately, with an experienced child support attorney on your side, you can do what’s best for your child and finalize your child support case as quickly as possible. Our team at The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan would be happy to assist you with any matters related to child support. For a free consultation, call our office today at 630-866-8303.
How is Child Custody Awarded?
During a divorce or legal separation, courts will determine who serves as the primary caregiver, also known as the custodial parent. You and your spouse may be awarded joint custody or sole custody, depending on the particular circumstances of your case. In many cases, the non-custodial parent will be obligated to make child support payments for minor children. However, the court may decide that both parents have a duty to pay for healthcare expenses, daycare expenses, education, or extracurricular activities.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In most cases, the court will calculate child support payments when ruling on your divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act prescribes how child support matters should be handled. A judge will review several factors about each parent to determine child support payments.
These factors can include:
- Both parents’ financial needs
- The children’s financial needs
- The parents’ income
- The standard of living the children would have had if the parents had stayed married
- The children’s educational needs
- The children’s mental, physical, and emotional needs
The court will also factor in each parent’s parenting time and net income. Based on these factors, a judge can determine how much the child support payment should be and which parent needs to pay it.
How is Net Income Determined?
Net income is an important factor in calculating child support. Net income is defined as all income minus deductions that must be paid.
These deductions include:
- Federal income tax
- State income tax
- Social security tax
- Medicare tax
- Union dues
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Dependent and individual health insurance premiums
- Prior obligations of spousal support or child support as ordered by a court
- Expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses
- Foster care payments
According to Illinois state law, the basic child support obligation must be calculated based on gross income minus these expenses. Once the court establishes net income, it can define the appropriate amount of child support to be awarded.
How is Child Support Enforced?
If you have been awarded child support, those payments will likely come in monthly installments. Unfortunately, it is common for child support orders to be violated and legal action to become necessary. If you are not receiving child support payments like you are supposed to, reach out to our office today. Our team can assist you in obtaining the child support that you are owed.
Child support enforcement is a real issue, and the penalties for not paying child support can be severe. Individuals may face consequences, including fines, penalties, and even jail time. However, if there has been a significant change to a party’s finances that prevents them from paying child support, the court may modify the child support agreement. For instance, if you lost your job or injured yourself and can no longer work, our team can help you ask the court for a modification of the agreement.
Is an Informal Child Support Agreement Valid?
A child support agreement without court or a voluntary child support agreement may seem like a good way to avoid court fees and time-consuming trials. However, a verbal agreement is not enforceable in court and can lead to costly court proceedings later. An informal agreement may lead to resentment if one parent stops paying what they promised, and it could require the party seeking support to go to court for a formal child support order.
Additionally, if you have a formal child support order but decide to modify it in some way, it’s in your best interest to modify it through the court. Changing the order verbally is not valid in the legal sense, meaning that if a party underpays on their child support, they could face consequences. The state likely will get involved if child support is underpaid or unpaid for long enough, and it could lead to fines or jail time.
Complex child support cases like these can be difficult to work through on your own. If you’re struggling to create a formal child support agreement or you aren’t sure how to modify your agreement, contact our office today. Our team will review your case and assist you so the child support agreement is fair and just to both parties.
Do I Need a Child Support Lawyer?
Going through a divorce is a time-consuming and stressful process. If you and your spouse have children together, negotiating child support payments can add even more pressure to this already challenging time. However, entering into a formal child support agreement is the best way to advocate for your children’s needs. Our team would happily review your case and assist you in any matters relating to child support, whether that’s modifying an existing agreement, negotiating with your spouse, or filing for an agreement in court. Call The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan today at 630-866-8303 for a free consultation.