Tag 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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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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How Your Employment Can Affect Your Divorce AgreementState divorce laws will not allow you to gain an advantage in support payments by quitting your job or not searching for a job. Your child support and spousal maintenance can be based on what you are realistically capable of earning. Courts will not offer much sympathy to people who try to cheat the system by creating an artificial need for support. If you are capable of working, you are expected to keep your job or try to find one.

Leaving Your Job

Courts determine child support and spousal maintenance payments based mostly each spouse’s income. Thus, a spouse could seemingly reduce his or her child support obligation and qualify for spousal maintenance if he or she was unemployed. You will not fool the court if you voluntarily leave your job in order to gain an advantage. The court will instead base your income on what you are capable of earning. However, there is a difference between quitting a job and leaving a job because it conflicts with your parenting time. As a single parent, you may need to look after your children during the hours you normally work. A court may be understanding in this situation but will expect you to look for another job that fits your schedule or to find childcare services.

Losing Your Job

You may become involuntarily unemployed during your divorce due to layoffs or being fired. The court will not hold it against you if you lose your job but, once again, will expect you to be actively looking for a job. It may want you to take a job for lesser pay until you can find new employment in your field.

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When to File for Denial of PaternityAs a father, you cannot forgo your financial obligation to your biological children, even if you no longer see them after divorcing or separating from their mother. However, you may not be required to make child support payments if you are not the child’s father. Family law courts prefer for a child to have two legally established parents for purposes of support and security. If the court presumes that you are the father, you will need to file a form stating that you deny paternity of the child.

Establishing Paternity

Illinois law assumes that you are the biological father of a child if you were married to the mother during the child’s conception or birth. If you have never been married to the mother, you can still be the legal father if:

  • You sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form;
  • Illinois Child Support Services enters an order than names you as the father; or
  • A court rules that you are the father during a paternity suit.

You should not sign a VAP form if you are uncertain about whether you are the child’s father. You have 60 days to rescind a VAP after its effective date. After the deadline, a court will rescind a VAP only if you can prove that you signed the form under duress or based on fraud or a material mistake. A genetic test can clear up any doubt about your paternity.

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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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Goostree Law Group

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