Tag Archives: child support modifications

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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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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deadbeat parents, Illinois family law attorney, Illinios child support attorney,The duty to pay child support stems from the child’s needs as well as the parent’s ability to pay. The second part of that equation depends on the supporting parent’s financial resources and needs. In other words, it is difficult to order parents to pay beyond their means. But what do such “means” include? Two years ago the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether money regularly drawn from a savings account is considered income for child support purposes.

The case, In re Marriage of McGrath, involved a divorcing couple with two children. Their marriage settlement included a joint parenting agreement granting physical custody to the mother. Because the father was unemployed, the initial agreement did not require him to pay child support. Eventually, however, the mother filed a petition seeking support payments. At the time, the father was covering his own living expenses by making withdrawals from his savings account. The court found that those withdrawals constituted his net income and used that amount to calculate his support obligations.

Savings Account Withdrawals Do Not Constitute Income

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Goostree Law Group

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