According to Illinois family law, a child’s legal parents are responsible for the minor’s financial security and welfare. Stepparents do not have a legal obligation to support stepchildren. The law is designed to serve the child—not the parents. As a result, remarriage does not impact child maintenance payments.
Illinois courts follow guidelines established by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in order to determine appropriate child support payments. In general, child support payments are calculated using Illinois’ Child Support Guidelines, which mandates that a noncustodial parent pay a percentage of his or her net income.
Child support payments in Illinois are also determined by various economic factors, including the total income of both parents, geography, and the number of children who will be supported. The net income of both parents is divided. A higher-earning spouse can expect to pay more in child support.
Based on this Illinois income-shares formula, a parent who earns 70 percent of the combined income will pay 70 percent of the child support obligation. However, either parent may approach the courts to request a modification to the payments when changes in child expenses or a parent’s income occurs.
Do child maintenance payments change when obligors remarry?
Parents who make child support payments (known as “obligors”) mistakenly assume that remarriage will influence payment amounts. A parent may remarry someone with a higher income, for instance. Despite remarriage, this newly remarried parent will not end up paying more in child support.
Remarrying someone with a sizeable income will increase the combined income, thereby moving the obligor into a higher tax bracket. Despite the significant boost in combined income, the courts will not direct the parent who is responsible for child support to pay a larger amount.
Courts do not consider the combined assets of a parent and his or her new spouse when it comes to re-evaluating child support payments. This is the case even when the remarried couple buys a new residential property together or experiences a higher standard of living.
Another example of erroneous child support payment expectations involves a parent who remarries an individual with children. As a stepparent, this individual will be burdened with additional child-rearing expenses. Even as a new stepparent, however, his or her child support payments will not decrease.
According to current law, income from the spouse of a parent who has remarried is not factored into child support payments. As mentioned, the new stepparent is not bound by any legal obligations to support the financial well-being of a stepchild.
An obligor who remarries and plans to start a new family can expect to bear greater future financial stress, which may prompt him or her to request a reduction in child support payments. Courts may be reluctant to acquiesce since children from a previous marriage are considered a priority.
Illinois courts, however, may agree to make modifications to child support payment amounts when the remarried obligor has a new child. The additional expenses incurred may include childcare and healthcare. Major changes in circumstance would warrant child support payment adjustments.
Do child maintenance payments change when the recipient remarries?
Child support payments do not alter when the recipient of child support remarries. The recipient of child support may remarry an individual with a higher income, for instance. Because the new, high-earning spouse is not legally obligated to support the stepchild, the obligor’s payments will not decrease.
Similarly, the recipient of child support may remarry and subsequently incur new expenses. Although the remarriage may lead to an additional financial strain for the recipient of child support, the financial responsibility of the parent who is paying child support will not increase.
An exception to the law exists, however. Adoption of the child by the new spouse will terminate the obligor’s financial responsibility. Adoption can only occur when the other parent relinquishes his or her parental rights. Such cases rarely occur with involved parents who pay child support.
In the occasional instances when a parent surrenders his or her parental rights, that individual is no longer legally responsible for making child support payments. Again, only when a parent gives up parental rights can the new spouse take steps to adopt the stepchild.
Severing child support payments when a newly remarried parent is financially well-off is not advised. Some divorced parents may wish to distance themselves from an ex, while others intend to send a subtle message of goodwill to the other parent.
No matter what pushes a parent to want to cut off child support payments, doing so will not benefit the child, the parent or the ex. Avoid suggesting that an ex is less involved in the child’s life. Rather, save the extra money for the child’s education expenses.
Work with a Child Support Attorney
Child support is important to parents who receive primary custody after a divorce. Payments are necessary for the child’s healthcare and education expenses, as well as everyday necessities. When you are battling a case involving child support, turn to Allen Gabe Law, P.C., for sound legal guidance.
Our firm of knowledgeable family law attorneys are highly experienced in all aspects of child support. We understand the nuances of the legal processes involved in child support cases, including how child support payments are determined, how payments are enforced, and how payments may be adjusted.
The experienced child support attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., provide legal support to ensure your ex pays the child support you are due. We also represent parents who have difficulty making child support payments; our firm will approach the courts to request payment amounts that are more affordable.
Schedule a Consultation
Financial status can also change and lead to modifications in child support payments. In such cases, our lawyers will represent you fairly in court. Parents living in the Schaumburg, IL area, trust the family law attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., to handle child support matters.
Call us at (847) 241-5000, ext. 121 for expert legal representation.