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Is There Any Way to Lower My Child Support Payment?

Posted on in Child Support

St. Charles, IL child support lawyerThe state of Illinois expects parents to financially support their children even if they are unmarried or divorced. Child support payments help divide the financial burden between both of the parents. The parent with the lesser amount of parenting time provides financial support to the parent with the greater share of the parenting time. The parent with the majority of parenting time makes his or her financial contributions to the child by paying for things like housing, groceries, and other everyday expenses.

If you are the paying parent or “obligor” you may be worried about your ability to make child support payments. Perhaps you have lost your job or experienced another financial hardship, and you can no longer afford child support. There are ways to modify a child support payment amount, however, the courts only allow child support modifications in certain circumstances.

Request a Modification Review

Child support obligations are based on both parents’ net incomes and are designed to be affordable and reasonable. However, the state recognizes that parents’ financial situations can change. If you wish to reduce your child support obligation, you will need to file a petition to modify your child support order. You will need to explain your reasons for requesting the modification. Typically, a “substantial change in circumstances” is needed for a parent to get his or her child support order changed.

Kane County Paternity LawyerIn Illinois, both parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to a child. The parent with the greater amount of parenting time, or time spent with the child, is the parent who receives child support. The parent with less parenting time is responsible for making child support payments. Child support payors or "obligors" may be men or women. However, statistics show that about 85 percent of the people who pay child support are men. 

Many people have questions about how and when a father is required to pay child support. For example, does a father have to pay child support if he never sees his child? Can a father surrender his parental rights? Can a father avoid paying child support by refusing to sign the birth certificate? 

Parentage and Paternity in Illinois

In order to understand how child support works, it is important to first understand the concept of "parentage." Parentage is defined as the legal relationship between a child and his or her parents. Once parentage is established, parents have certain rights and responsibilities towards their child. Parentage involving fathers is called paternity

St. Charles Child Support LawyerChild support is an important form of financial assistance for parents in Illinois. Payments are based on both parents’ net income, and often paid on a monthly basis. The parent with the majority of parenting time, formerly called the custodial parent, receives child support from the parent with less parenting time.  If the parents each have at least 40 percent of the parenting time, the child support obligation is reduced accordingly.

Usually, child support ends when a child turns 18 and graduates high school or graduates from college. However, what happens if a child is emancipated?

Emancipation of a Child in Illinois

The Emancipation of Minors Act was passed in 1980. It allows individuals to become either partially or fully independent from their parents. Emancipation automatically occurs when a child turns 18 and becomes an adult. However, a special emancipation order can expedite the process and allow a 16 or 17-year-old to be emancipated. To become emancipated, teenagers must show that they are mature enough to handle their own affairs. They must also demonstrate that they have already been living partially or completely separate from their parents or guardians.

Kane County Child Support LawyerParents have the obligation to provide financial support for their children. To ensure that children will have the resources that will fully address their ongoing needs, child support will usually be ordered in cases where married parents choose to divorce or when unmarried parents are separated. In many of these cases, one parent will have primary physical custody, meaning that children will live with them the majority of the time, and this parent will usually receive child support payments from the other parent. However, there are some situations where parents may have equal or 50/50 custody, and determining the parents’ child support obligations in these cases can be more complex.

Child Support and Shared Physical Care

In Illinois, child support obligations are calculated by taking the income earned by both parents into account. These obligations are determined by considering the amount that married parents would usually be expected to spend on child-related expenses. The state of Illinois uses tables that detail the appropriate amount of support based on parents’ combined income and their number of children.

In most cases, the amount of child support determined using these tables will be divided between parents, with each parent being responsible for a percentage of the amount of child support based on the income they earn. That is, if a parent earns 30 percent of the couple’s combined income, they will be responsible for 30 percent of the child support obligation, and the other parent will be responsible for 70 percent of the obligation. When one parent is the custodial parent, the other parent will make child support payments to them.

What Expenses Are Covered by Child Support?

Posted on in Child Support

St. Charles family law attorneyParents who get divorced will need to address a variety of issues related to financial support for their children. While both parents are expected to contribute financially to their children’s needs, understanding exactly what is covered by child support can sometimes be a complex matter. By working with an attorney to understand how the law applies in their situation, parents can ensure that their children will have the necessary financial resources, while also making sure they will have the means to support themselves.

Basic Child Support and Additional Child-Related Expenses

In Illinois, parents’ child support obligations are determined using a method that takes both parents’ incomes into consideration. The law details a method of calculating what is known as the “basic child support obligation.” This amount is meant to represent the regular, ongoing expenses that parents would have paid for their children if they were still married.

Each parent is required to pay a portion of the basic child support obligation, but rather than dividing this amount in half, it is allocated based on each parent’s percentage of their combined income. This basic obligation is meant to address children’s ongoing, daily needs. That is, it will cover living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments and utilities for the home where the children live the majority of the time, as well as children’s food and clothing.

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