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Kane County Family Law AttorneyThe term “paternity” refers to fatherhood. Mothers and fathers in Illinois often have questions about how paternity works. Contrary to what many believe, paternity is not always automatically established by a baby’s birth. In some cases, parents must take additional action to formalize the child’s legal relationship with his or her father. The situation becomes especially complex when a mother is unsure of who the father is, or the father denies his paternity.

How Can I Establish a Child’s Legal Relationship with His or Her Father?

If parents are unmarried, they must establish paternity. The easiest way is to sign a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) and submit it to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Paternity may also be established through an administrative order through the HFS or through a court order.

What if I Signed a VAP and Then Found Out I Am Not the Father?

If you signed a VAP because you thought you were a child’s biological father and then found out you were not the father, you can complete a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity within 60 days of signing the VAP and file it with the HFS.

Kane County Child Support LawyerChild support used to be calculated solely based on the obligor’s net income and the number of children being supported. For example, a parent supporting one child paid 20 percent of his or her income in child support and a parent with two children put 28 percent of his or her income toward child support. However, Illinois has since modernized the child support calculation method to include the income of the both parents.

Typically, a parent’s actual income is used to calculate child support. However, there are situations in which the court may use a parent’s “imputed income” to determine the child support obligation.

What is Imputed Income?

The majority of child support orders are calculated using the parents’ actual income. The amount that a parent pays is based on his or her share of the parents’ combined income. If one parent makes $30,000 a year and the other parent makes $70,000 a year, the parents have an annual combined income of $100,000. The parent who makes $30,000 would be responsible for 30 percent of the basic support obligation. However, if the court feels that a parent is intentionally earning less than he or she is capable of earning, the court may use the parent’s imputed income instead of his or her actual income.

How Does Sole Custody Work in 2022?

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County Parenting Time LawyerAs you may already know, Illinois laws are frequently updated and modified. Some of the biggest changes to Illinois divorce and family law took place in 2016. The language used to describe child custody matters was just the start of the changes. Legislators also modernized the way courts handled child custody and divorce issues, prioritizing the involvement of both parents in a child's life.

If you are getting divorced or are unmarred and share a child with an ex, you may have questions about how to get sole custody. How does sole custody work? Can a father get sole custody? Are mothers granted sole custody by default? These are complicated questions, and the answers vary case by case. The best way to get advice specific to your situation is to work with a skilled family law attorney. Read on to learn more about how Illinois law currently handles custody matters.  

Sole Custody Versus Joint Custody in Illinois

In 2022, the terms "sole custody" and "joint custody" are only used informally. The law does not describe custody in these terms any longer. Instead, the law breaks down custody into two main components:

Kane County Parental Responsiblities LawyerFor any parent, the prospect of paying for college can be daunting. College tuition is becoming more and more expensive each year. Unmarried and divorced parents may be understandably even more concerned about how to finance their child’s higher education. Paying for tuition, housing, books, and other educational fees can be even harder to manage in a one-income household.

The average annual cost of attending an in-state public university is just over $25,000 in 2022. For a private university, that number more than doubles. If you are unmarried or divorced and you have kids, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding your child’s college expenses.

How Are College Expenses Divided If Parents are Divorced or Unmarried?

Most married parents work together to figure out how to pay for college tuition and related expenses. However, if parents were never married or have divorced, they may be confused about which parent is responsible for paying college expenses. Illinois is unique in that the law can require unmarried or divorced parents to contribute to their child’s higher education.

St. Charles Family Law AttorneyDivorced and unmarried individuals in Illinois are often subject to child support orders. When the court orders child support, it is not a suggestion. The paying spouse or “obligor” is required by law to pay the child support. Failure to pay the support in full can lead to significant consequences. Court orders for spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, are the same. If you are required to pay child support or spousal support and fail to make payments, your wages may be garnished.

Wage Garnishment for Unpaid Support in Illinois

The term “wage garnishment” refers to the act of taking a portion of someone’s paycheck to pay debt or financial obligations. Illinois law clearly states that wage garnishment may be necessary if someone refuses to pay his or her child support or spousal support obligation. A non-paying parent may also be subject to property liens, driver’s license suspension, interception of tax returns, and other consequences. In some cases, a parent who fails to fulfill his or her support obligation may even be held in contempt of court. The parent could be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

How Can I Enforce a Child Support or Spousal Support Order?

The Illinois Department of Health and Family Services Division of Child Support Services has the authority to enforce payment of child support through tax offsets, bank liens, and other means. A family law attorney can help you work with the DCSS to get the child support you need. Alternatively, you and your attorney can pursue payment through the court.

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