Tag Archives: child support

Who Will Control Your Child's College Fund After Divorce?Divorce can disrupt the financial plans from your marriage, including savings you have accumulated for your child’s college expenses. If you have been making regular contributions to a college fund, you may worry about how you will continue to afford them on your individual income while also supporting yourself and your child. You should discuss your college savings plan with your spouse during your divorce negotiations, including who will control any existing savings and how to ensure that the money goes towards your child.

Types of Plans

Savings accounts from your marriage, such as a retirement plan, are considered marital assets because they are funded with marital income. Even if you keep control of the entire account after your divorce, you may need to compensate your spouse for half of the value of the account. A court may exclude your college savings account from your marital property if it classifies the account as a fund set aside for your children. The best way to do this is by creating a plan that is meant for college savings, such as a:

  • 529 savings plan;
  • Custodial 529;
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account; or
  • Trust in your child’s name.

Plan Control

If you created the college savings account before your divorce, you will need to decide which parent will be in charge of the account moving forward. Usually, one parent assumes total control of the account, though you can split the account and each receive half of its value. You can include conditions in your divorce agreement stating that:

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How Pregnancy Can Change Your DivorceSome spouses have the unfortunate timing of divorcing while the wife is pregnant. Pregnancy is an emotional time for both expectant parents, though the excitement usually draws them closer. Having a child puts stress on the parents, which their relationship may be unable to withstand. In other cases, the decision to divorce just happens to coincide with the pregnancy. Illinois law does not prevent spouses from divorcing while expecting a child. However, pregnancy can change the nature of divorce, especially if it will be the couple’s first child.

Parenting Factors

Illinois law assumes that the husband is the father of any child conceived or born during a marriage. Only a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity by another man or a paternity test could break that assumption. Because the spouses will be co-parents after the divorce, their agreement must include:

A parenting plan for a newborn child is different than with older children. The mother will likely care for the newborn a majority of the time, but the father also needs bonding time with the infant if he plans on being an active parent. The parents should schedule a regular time when the father can visit and hold the infant. Caring for the infant may affect the balance of incomes that determine child support payments, depending on the type of maternity leave that the mother receives and whether either parent will reduce their work hours to focus on parenting.

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Which Circumstances Allow You to Modify Child Support Payments?Due to the overhaul of Illinois’ child support law a few years ago, some divorced or separated parents are working under a drastically different child support system than others:

  • For child support agreements created before July 1, 2017, the non-resident parent pays a percentage of his or her income, based on the number of children; and
  • For child support agreements created since July 1, 2017, the total child support obligation is determined by the parents’ combined incomes, and the non-resident parent pays a percentage of the obligation that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined incomes.

The new child support model would potentially reduce the payments of a parent who was using the previous child support model. However, the existence of the new law is not enough reason to allow a modification of a child support agreement. 

Recent Case

A parent needs to prove a significant change of circumstances to immediately modify a child support agreement, which is usually a change in income or expenses for either parent. In the recent case of In re Marriage of Salvatore, a divorced father thought he had enough of a change of circumstances to allow him to reduce his child support payments. The parents had completed their divorce in 2015, with the father paying $8,100 per month for child support. The mother was unemployed at the time of divorce but had since been employed as an office worker and nurse.

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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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Government Shutdowns Have Limited Effects on DivorcesAfter more than a month, the federal government shutdown has ended with a deal to reopen the government for three weeks. However, President Donald Trump mentioned the possibility of another shutdown if he could not reach an agreement with Democratic leaders. You may wonder whether a shutdown has any effect on divorces. In most situations, the answer is “no.” A shutdown impacts the funding for federal courts, but state courts handle divorce and family law cases. A shutdown would likely affect a divorce only when one of the spouses is a federal employee.

Immediate Consequences

Federal employees do not receive pay during a government shutdown. This should not create any uncertainty about a spouse’s income during divorce negotiations because most employees receive back pay after the shutdown has ended. The government may not repay federal contractors, but those losses should not change the spouse’s future income once the government is running again. The missed pay could immediately affect people who:

  • Are trying to obtain a loan to purchase their own home following a divorce;
  • Are required to make monthly child support or spousal maintenance payments as part of a completed divorce agreement; or
  • Do not have enough money to pay for their own child or personal expenses.

It is important to talk to your family law attorney and former spouse about your financial concerns during a government shutdown. Your former spouse may be understanding about a missed or reduced support payment when you are not receiving your income. If a shutdown persists, you can also file a motion to modify your support payments because of a change in income. However, you could be held in contempt of your divorce agreement if you fail to make support payments without explaining the reason to your former spouse or the court.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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