Child Support Attorneys in Illinois
Child support is very important in cases in which one parent gets primary custody of their children after a divorce. To ensure that you get the child support you are entitled to, it helps to work with an experienced family law attorney. Our child support attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. have more than 30 years of experience in family law and can provide legal representation for child support cases in Schaumburg, IL and the surrounding area.
Child support refers to payments that custodial parents receive from non-custodial parents after a divorce to help provide for their children. In many cases, the custodial parent depends on child support payments to pay for the necessities, healthcare, and education that the child needs. If you need representation to secure child support payments in a divorce or to settle a dispute regarding child support, our attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. can help.
Our child support attorneys understand the legal processes behind child support such as how the amount of the payment is determined, how payments are enforced, and how the amount of the payment can change. We will work with you to understand your unique situation and explain how the legal processes will apply to you. We can also handle the necessary paperwork and documentation to prepare your case.
New Illinois Law Regarding Child Care and Health Insurance
Under Illinois law, both parents are obligated to financially provide for their children. Once the child custody arrangement is determined, the custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent to ensure that both parents are providing for their children financially.
Child support payments must be utilized by the custodial parent to pay for expenses for the children and ensure they have a stable home, including:
- Mortgage or rent where the custodial parent and children live
- Utilities including electricity, gas, and water
- Educational expenses for the children including tuition and supplies
- Food expenses
- Medical expenses
As of January 1, 2022, parents in Illinois must by law either maintain or obtain health insurance for their children during child support proceedings, divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, or any other Illinois Court proceeding involving child support. The health insurance can be private insurance or public insurance such as Medicaid.
How are Child Support Payments Calculated?
An Illinois law that went into effect in 2017 redefined how child support is determined. The net income of both parents as well as the amount of parenting time are main factors in determining the amount of child support payments.
The net income of both parents is added up to determine the combined net income and a Basic Child Support Obligation using factors created by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services that may include living arrangements, educational expenses, and healthcare expenses. Each parent is responsible for a percentage of the Basic Child Support Obligation based on their income. The custodial parent will receive the percentage of the obligation from the non-custodial parent to be used for the care of the children.
When determining an amount for child support, the court will consider the best interests of the children first. Our child support attorneys will help ensure that you get a fair amount that is beneficial for your children.
How are Child Support Payments Enforced?
Once decided by the court, child support payments are mandatory. Failure to make child support payments is considered contempt of court and you may become fined or incarcerated as a result. We provide representation for custodial parents who are not receiving their child support payments to help them take the right legal steps to resolve the issue.
You can take the non-custodial parent to court for child support enforcement for the following:
- The paying parent purposefully refuses to pay child support with no lawful excuse.
- They go for more than 6 months without paying child support or owe more than $5000.
- They leave the state to avoid paying child support.
If this happens, you can file a form with the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) and talk to our attorneys for legal help. Child support payments can be enforced by the court or through administrative action through the DCSS. Depending on the situation, there are several ways that either the court or the DCSS can enforce the payment. The following are the most common actions taken:
- Wage garnishment: This is when the DCSS contacts the employer of the paying parent and works out a deal so that the child support money comes directly from their paycheck. Employers must cooperate with DCSS by law, and they may be fined if they do not cooperate.
- License suspension: The government can revoke state issued licenses, including driver’s licenses, if someone has missed child support payments for 90 days. The paying parent will get a warning first that gives them 60 days to pay child support, or their license will be revoked.
- Financial partnerships: The courts can pursue businesses and financial partners of the paying parent if their finances are connected to these entities. This can include requiring assets to help pay off child support.
- Criminal charges: Criminal charges are usually a last resort and reserved for cases in which the paying parent leaves the state or owes more than $10,000. Those criminally charged for failing to pay child support can get a class four felony and up to 6 months in jail or fines of up to $25,000.
In addition to providing representation for custodial parents seeking child support payments, we can also represent non-custodial parents who are having trouble making their child support payments.
How do Child Support Payments Change?
Child support payment amounts are determined by the current circumstances, including the net income of both parents. If those circumstances change, it is possible to adjust the payment amount. Non-custodial parents will need to prove to the courts that their circumstances have substantially changed, whether due to financial status or medical care expenses.
We can provide representation for those looking to adjust their child support payments and help you make your case to the court.
Child Support for College Expenses
In most cases, child support payments end either when the child graduates high school or turns 18, which ever happens second. However, Illinois law does allow the court to order one or both parents to pay support for college expenses well into the adulthood of their children.
This type of support must be requested by one of the parents, not the child. The court considers several factors when it comes to child support for college expenses including whether the existing divorce judgement includes anything about college costs for the children. If there is an agreement within the divorce judgement concerning paying for college, a judge may order you to honor the agreement. If no agreement exists, the court will consider the resources and needs of the parents and child as well as college expenses. The child’s academic record may also be considered as the court is more likely to award support if the child has a good academic record. Only unmarried students under the age of 23 can receive this type of support and the money must be used for approved expenses related to college. The age limit can be increased to 25 with good cause.
Our attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. can help advise you on requesting and obtaining child support for college expenses.
Special Needs and Deviations
We discussed above how child support payments are typically calculated in Illinois and in most cases, the courts stick to these methods. However, deviations from the typically methods of calculating child support can be made in some cases. To request a deviation, you must demonstrate good reason that the typical guidelines would be “inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate” for your specific situation. Our attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. can help you make your case for child support deviation.
In cases in which divorced parents have a child who is disabled, parents can be ordered by the court to continue to provide non-minor support no matter the age of the child. Child support typically ends when the child turns 18, but it can continue for disabled non-minor children. For a child to be eligible for this support, they must have an “impairment that substantially limits a major life activity” and the disability must have started while the child was qualified for standard child support or college expense support. Non-minor children who suffer a disability after the age of 18 and who are not receiving college expense support are not eligible.
The court will consider the following when determining the calculation for non-minor support for a disabled child:
- The needs and resources of each parent including retirement arrangements
- The standard of living of the child had no divorce occurred
- The expected needs and resources of the child
- Benefit and aid programs the child may be eligible for including Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you have a disabled child who still needs support after their 18th birthday, our attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. can help you secure non-minor support.
Legal Representation for Child Support Cases
Our child support attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C. have the experience and expertise to provide legal representation in cases involving child support. We will consider the best interests of you and your children as we help you take the legal steps to securing an appropriate child support payment. We will take care of the necessary documentation and help prepare your case to attain a favorable solution.
Whether you are a custodial parent who needs representation to secure child support payments or a non-custodial parent who needs representation to modify the payments, our attorneys can help. You can reach Allen Gabe Law, P.C. at (847) 241-5000, Ext 121 for legal representation in Schaumburg, IL and the surrounding area.
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