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How Much Child Support Do You Pay If You Become Unemployed?If you are one of the millions of Americans who have recently lost their jobs, you are understandably concerned about your ability to pay for living expenses. For some adults, child support is part of their monthly expenses. Fortunately, you do not have to continue paying the same amount towards child support if you have become unemployed. By requesting a modification of your child support payments, you can reduce your payments to something more manageable, though it is unlikely that you could ever get it reduced to nothing.

Changing Child Support

During a divorce or separation, Illinois calculates child support payments based on the parents’ comparative incomes. Your combined incomes help determine how much you both should be spending on child-related expenses each month, and your comparative incomes determine what percentage of those expenses you will each pay for. You can request an immediate modification of child support if you have a change of financial circumstances, such as losing your job. If the court grants your request, your child support payments will be reduced if you are the paying parent, or the payments you receive will increase if you are the recipient parent. There are a few conditions to the modification that you need to understand:

  • If your unemployment is voluntary, the court will calculate your income based on what you could potentially be earning and not your actual income.
  • You may need to make a good faith effort to find a new job in order for the court to consider your unemployment to be involuntary.
  • Child support payments can be reduced retroactively to the date that you filed your modification request but not the date you lost your job.
  • In many cases, child support will be paid to the parent with a majority of the parenting time, even if the recipient has a greater income than the payer. However, there may be situations in which the parent with a higher income and the majority of the parenting time pays child support to the other parent, including in some "shared physical care" situations where each parent has at least 40% of the parenting time.

What Counts As Income?

Though you have lost your job, you are still required to pay whatever child support you can afford. If you are receiving severance pay and/or unemployment benefits, that will count towards your income for the purpose of child support. If those income sources expire, you may still be expected to pay a minimum amount based on whatever savings you have to live on.

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Has Divorce Made You an Overbearing Parent?Children of divorce need their parents’ attention to console them and remind them that they will always be loved. If you are worried about your divorce causing lasting emotional damage to your children, active parenting will allow you to watch for signs of emotional stress. However, it is possible to be too active in your parenting, to the point that you may harm your relationship with your child. You need to find a balance in which you are attentive to your children’s needs without becoming controlling or overbearing.

How Divorced Parents Smother Their Children

An overly involved parent can smother their child with positive and negative attention – both of which can be unhealthy:

  • Positive attention may be spoiling them with gifts or being overprotective of them.
  • Negative attention may be harsh punishments for misbehavior or setting strict rules.

It may not be your intention, but smothering your children is emotionally manipulating them to serve your own desires. Your children may become overly attached and dependent upon you, which hinders their maturation. Your overbearing parenting could also have the opposite effect, causing your children to rebel against you.

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Should I Wait to Divorce Because of the Coronavirus?The coronavirus epidemic has created shockwaves throughout society, and some marriages may be part of the collateral damage. Millions of residents in the U.S. – including those in Illinois – have been ordered to stay at home as much as possible. Some of those residents have lost their jobs, leaving their financial future in doubt. With couples feeling immense stress and unable to escape each other, they are more likely to argue and feel resentful towards each other. Increased time together can also make it more obvious if they no longer love each other or feel unhappy in their marriage. Some couples may conclude that they would like to divorce. However, should they delay getting their divorce until after the epidemic has calmed down?

Reasons to Wait

If your mind is made up that you want to divorce, you may feel restless to get started. However, this may not be the best time to do so. Consider these questions:

  • How might getting a divorce affect your finances, especially if you recently lost your job?
  • Is it feasible for either of you to move out right now?
  • What would you do about health insurance, which you may need if one of you gets infected?
  • How would your children react to learning about your divorce, on top of everything else going on in the world?

There is also the issue of court availability because courthouses are limiting the cases that they hear to those that are deemed urgent, such as criminal cases in which people are being detained. When the courts begin operating normally again, they will have a backlog of postponed cases that they need to hear before they even get to new cases.

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Five Factors When Dividing Vehicles in a DivorceUnless you live in an area with a robust public transportation system, your vehicle is one of the most essential properties that you own. Thus, your car is one of the more important properties that you will include in your division of property during a divorce. The division may seem straight-forward if you own two vehicles. You each will get one vehicle. However, there are several issues related to your vehicles that you need to consider before completing your divorce:

  1. Is the Vehicle a Marital or Separate Property?: If you purchased the vehicle during your marriage with your shared income, then it is marital property. It may be separate property if you purchased it before your marriage, you received it as a gift, or you managed to pay for it with money that is separate from your marital assets. However, a vehicle you purchased before your marriage can become marital property if your spouse has helped you repay the loan on the vehicle.
  2. Who Gets Each Vehicle?: When you have two marital vehicles, you must decide which vehicle each of you will keep. If you cannot agree on how to divide the vehicles on your own, a divorce court may decide based on who primarily drives each vehicle and how they use the vehicle. For instance, the court may award you a truck that you need for transporting equipment for work.
  3. What Are the Values of the Vehicles?: Vehicles can differ in value depending on their model, age, and condition. If your spouse is getting the more valuable vehicle, you can request compensation in the form of other marital assets. You need a professional appraiser to determine the value of any vehicles that you own, from cars to motorcycles.
  4. Are You Still Paying Off a Loan?: You and your spouse share the debt on a vehicle loan if you cosigned on the loan agreement. Marital debts are equitably divided between spouses in an Illinois divorce. Spouses often agree that the person who keeps the vehicle should be the one who is responsible for the remainder of the loan. However, you can also request that your spouse help you repay the loan if you do not have the financial means to do it on your own.
  5. Whose Name Is on the Title?: Removing or changing the names on your vehicle title is something you must do separately from your divorce. Failing to update the title could cause problems later if you want to sell the vehicle. If your former spouse’s name is still on the title, you cannot sell the vehicle without their permission. You can update your vehicle title by submitting an Application for Vehicle Transaction with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

Your marital vehicles are one part of the many valuable properties that you must divide during your divorce. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you in negotiating an equitable division that lets you keep the properties you need most. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Kane County COVID-19 Family Law Attorney

Q: What will happen to the court dates I have scheduled?

A: Kane, DuPage, Kendall and DeKalb Counties have all suspended non-emergency court dates through April 17, 2020. In Kane County, the judges are offering teleconferencing for previously scheduled pre-trial conferences and our office is working with our opposing counsels to move forward with those scheduled matters. The Circuit Clerk's Offices will be sending new dates for previously scheduled Case Management Conferences and status hearings. If your case was set for an extended hearing or trial, it is likely that those new dates will be scheduled after the courthouses resume regular operations. Should any circumstances change, we will be in touch with all of our clients to update you.

 

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