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Modifying Child Support Payments with New Illinois LawChild support payments are generally recognized by divorcing spouses as a necessary part of their shared parental responsibilities. Parties in a divorce are more likely to argue about the value of child support payments one spouse receives. Courts will consider the needs of the children and the financial status of each parent to determine an appropriate amount. However, needs and finances can change, and it sometimes is appropriate for parents to modify the child support arrangement.

Determining Payments

Starting July 1, Illinois will use a new measure called income shares to determine what percentage of the children’s basic support amount each parent is responsible for. Each parent’s net income is calculated, which is the gross income subtracted by necessary living expenses and taxes. The two net incomes are combined, and the parent with the greater share of the income will proportionately pay his or her share of expenses associated with the children. Courts will also take into account whether there is a shared parenting arrangement, in which children spend at least 146 nights a year with each parent. In this situation, each parent’s child support obligation is multiplied by the percentage of time he or she is responsible for the child. If the parent with lower income has a larger share of the parental responsibility, the parent with the higher income will pay the difference between the two amounts.

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child college expenses in illinois, kane county child support lawyerThe subject of your child’s future college expenses and who will be responsible for them following the end of your marriage can be difficult to address, especially in the midst of an impending divorce. Whether you and your spouse discussed the funding of your child’s education early on in your marriage or did not discuss it at all, you may be wondering who will be responsible for paying tuition and other expenses once you are separated.

Who Pays for What?

While preparing for your child’s education may not be at the forefront of your mind during the divorce process, there are certain discussions you can have with your spouse and attorney to ensure your child’s education is secure when the time comes for them to attend college. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act works in favor of your children and their higher education. Revisions to Illinois state family law in 2016 enabled courts to order a parent to pay for the child’s college if the child is no longer living at home but attending school. Before either parent is ordered to contribute a certain amount to college expenses, however, there are multiple factors that the court takes into account:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_license-revocation.jpgIt is a well-known fact among divorced Illinois parents that one of the consequences for failing to pay one's child support is the suspension of his or her driver's license. In fact, there is even a catchy name for the law that created this consequence: Deadbeats Don't Drive. But for many parents and non-parents alike, the measure seems illogical.

 

A parent can not make his or her child support payments if he or she can not afford them. If that parent loses his or her driver's license, his or her job opportunities become extremely limited, making it even more difficult or even impossible to get caught up on his or her owed child support. In Illinois, the court may suspend a parent's driver's license if he or she is 90 days or more behind on his or her child support payments.

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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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