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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from Goostree Law Group

Kane County Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Am I paying/receiving the correct amount of child support?

Child support is based on the net income earned by both parents and the number of children, with each parent being responsible for a portion of child support based on the amount they contribute to their combined net income. The more difficult question is how to calculate net income. Many people try to manipulate their net income by over withholding taxes or voluntarily contributing to retirement plans. If you are a recipient of child support, it is important that your attorney complete a proper analysis to insure that you are receiving the correct amount of support. At Goostree Law Group, we use a computer program known as FinPlan to accurately calculate child support pursuant to court standards.

Q: Am I entitled to an increase/decrease in child support payment?

Child support is always modifiable when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Generally a substantial increase or decrease in the payor’s income will constitute a basis for a support modification. It is important to note that child support can never be modified prior to serving the other party with a notice and motion requesting the modification. The Court does not have the authority to modify child support retroactively. If you are the payor and your lose your job, it is imperative that a motion be filed and served upon the other party immediately.

Q: Can visitation be modified?

Visitation is always modifiable if the modification is in the best interest of the children. To modify visitation, a petition must be filed with the Court and, if the Judge agrees that a modification is in the children’s best interest, an appropriate order should be entered. There is no “standard” visitation schedule and every case requires its own analysis.

Q: How old does my child have to be in order to decide which parent to live with?

In Illinois, custody is never the choice of the child. Often children do not know what is in their best interest. The wishes of the child are one factor that the Court will consider. Generally speaking, the older and more mature the child is, the more weight will be given to the child’s wishes.

Q: What can I do if my ex-spouse is not following the terms of our agreement?

The terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement generally become part of the Order of the Court and are enforceable through contempt proceedings. A Petition for contempt of court can be filed with the Court if your spouse fails to follow the agreement. If the Court finds your former-spouse in contempt of court, he/she can be incarcerated until they comply with the agreement. In addition, if found in contempt of court, the former spouse will generally be ordered to reimburse you for your attorneys’ fees.

Q: Can custody of my child be modified?

Custody is always modifiable and it is not necessary to prove the residential parent unfit. If the petition to modify is brought within two years of the entry of the last Custody Order, you must show that there is a serious endangerment to the child necessitating a modification of custody. If the Petition to Modify Custody is brought more than two years after the last Custody Order, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances which necessitates a modification in custody to promote the best interest of the child. A finding of serious endangerment is not required after two years.

Q: My divorce decree states that my maintenance is reviewable. What does this mean?

Often a settlement agreement will provide maintenance for a period of years subject to a review because the court cannot predict your financial circumstances three to five years into the future. Upon review, depending on your circumstances, the court may extend, modify or terminate maintenance. It is imperative to file your notice and Petition to Review Maintenance on time, or you may waive your rights. Let us read your Marital Settlement Agreement and advise you of your options.

At Goostree Law Group we strive for client satisfaction and as always, we sincerely appreciate your referrals. For a free telephone consultation, call us at 630-584-4800.

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