Category Archives: Child Support

What Happens to Child Support After Remarriage?Getting remarried is an exciting event because it signifies a resolution to your divorce in many ways. You have proven that you can find a new relationship. If you were receiving spousal maintenance, you can break that financial tie to your former spouse. However, your obligation to provide child support will remain, regardless of whether either of you gets remarried. There are limited circumstances in which the child support payments can be modified after one parent gets remarried.

Principles of Child Support

Divorced parents pay child support because they share a financial obligation to care for their children. That obligation will always remain with the two legal parents of the children and not with any new spouses. Your new spouse cannot become the legal parent of your children unless your co-parent relinquishes his or her parental rights and your new spouse adopts your children. Thus, courts have traditionally not considered the income of a new spouse when determining child support payments. However, an Illinois court ruling in 2014 broke with that tradition when it found that:

  • A parent’s financial resources can help determine his or her appropriate child support obligation; and
  • The income of the mother’s new husband counted as an increase in her financial resources.

Courts will not directly include your new spouse’s income when calculating your child support obligation. Instead, it will reasonably consider whether your current share of child support is fair if your new spouse’s income decreases the percentage of your income that you use for other expenses.

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Court Orders Retired Father to Pay Same Level of Child SupportLosing your job and being forced into retirement normally qualifies as a change of circumstances that will allow you to reduce your child support payments. The recent decision for In re Marriage of Verhines shows that a court will consider more than income to determine a parent’s child support obligation in high-income cases. The Illinois appellate court said that there were unique circumstances in this case as opposed to a normal request for child support relief.

Case Background

A 65-year-old divorced father of a teenage son initially requested a reduction of his child support payments in December 2015 after his forced termination from his previous position as an executive at a packaging company. The father was paying $3,043 per month based on his previous income but effectively entered retirement because he was unable to secure another full-time executive position at his age. A trial court reduced his child support payments to $1,700 per month, claiming that the father’s income was $78,000 per year and that he could not be expected to withdraw from his retirement benefits to maintain the same level of child support payments. He had previously taken $400,000 out of his retirement account to pay for personal expenses.

Decision Reversal

An Illinois appellate court recently overturned the trial court’s ruling and reinstated the original child support amount. The appellate court said that the trial court’s decision ignored key factors and used faulty logic:

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When Employers Fail to Withhold Former Spouse's PayYou can order your former spouse’s employer to withhold money from his or her pay if that former spouse is not making his or her required payments for child support or spousal maintenance. You must send your uniform order of support and a notice to withhold to your spouse’s employer. Once it receives the notice, the employer must:

  • Withhold money from your former spouse's paychecks, starting with the first pay period in the next 14 days; and
  • Send payments to a state disbursement unit within seven business days of the date that the former spouse is paid.

If the employer does not comply with the notice, you can file a third-party complaint against the employer for receipt of the missed payments and a $100 fine for each day that the employer did not comply.

Recent Example

In the case of In re Marriage of Schmidgall, a woman filed a complaint against her former husband’s employer for ignoring her notice to withhold for six months. The woman’s lawyer initially sent the notice to withhold by certified mail in May 2014, but the envelope was returned and marked “refused.” The lawyer sent two more notices in June and August, both of which were returned as “unclaimed.” The employer claims that it did not receive a notice until late December, after which it began to comply. Testimony in the case established that:

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How to Enforce Child Support Payments in CourtChild support is a shared responsibility between co-parents who no longer live together. Illinois’ child support laws use the number of children and the income of the parents to determine an appropriate amount to go towards raising the children. When one parent is not paying his or her share of child support, it hurts both the children and the other parent. If you have a co-parent who is not paying the required amount of child support, you may need to take legal action to enforce the child support payments.

Considerations Before Going to Court

When your co-parent misses a child support payment for the first time, your initial response should be to contact him or her and ask about the payment. Going to court may be unnecessary if your co-parent has a legitimate excuse for missing the payment and can assure you that this is a one-time occurrence. In some cases, the threat of legal action may be enough to get your co-parent to cooperate. However, you may need a court to be involved if your co-parent:

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How Much of a Personal Injury Award Goes Towards Child Support?Each parent’s net income helps determine the total child support obligation owed to pay for the expenses of raising their shared children. Illinois’ Supreme Court has defined child support income as a gain to a parent’s wealth that allows him or her to better support the children. Income commonly comes from recurring sources such as job wages and gifts but also includes one-time, lump-sum payments, such as a personal injury award. A sudden gain of thousands of dollars changes the amount of money a parent has available to pay child support, at least temporarily. However, Illinois courts do not count the entire personal injury award as part of a parent’s child support income. A recent case helped define how much of the award can go towards child support.

Break Down

The total award or settlement in a personal injury case is meant to pay for specific damages related to the injury, including:

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