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Kane County family law attorneyAlthough the most commonly known method of collecting child support is through a court order as part of the Illinois divorce process, there are actually two ways of petitioning to collect child support. The first, as previously mentioned, is through an Illinois court. The second is by filing with the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).

If you are a parent of a child and you are attempting to collect child support, read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using DCSS to assist you, as well as how hiring a skilled child support attorney can help.

How Can DCSS Help Me Collect Child Support?

One major advantage of DCSS is that its services are free. These services include, but are not limited to:

Posted on in Divorce

St. Charles IL divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful. This is such a truism it hardly needs to be said. Between splitting up assets, negotiating with your former partner, taking care of any children, and trying to keep a household and career running smoothly, self-care can fall by the wayside.

Ongoing stress is terrible for our mental and physical health, and people will often suffer from illness or chronic pain after a divorce. Anxiety and depression are also common, as is weight gain or loss, substance abuse, and even heart disease. Here are a few things you can do to help improve your health and reduce stress during a divorce.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise extend beyond physical health. Mental health also improves due to better digestion, heart rate, and hormone regulation. You will feel better all around if you can remember to stay active during your divorce–even if you are exhausted.

St. Charles IL family lawyerParental financial support doesn’t necessarily end when a child turns 18. Although college may not be an option every child pursues, if a child does decide to go to college, divorced and unmarried parents could be responsible under Illinois law for sharing the expense of their child’s continued education. This is considered “non-minor support,” and the law in this regard is complex and less developed than child support for minor children. Typically, college expenses are addressed in a divorce agreement (or parenting agreement, for non-married parents), but as the expenses and expectations of college change rapidly, such an agreement is often left until the child reaches college age.

Considerations in an Order for College-Related Expenses

Here are some of the factors a court will take into account when deciding how parents should contribute to a child’s educational expenses:

  • Pre-college expenses - Parents are responsible for covering the cost of applying to up to five colleges and up to two standardized college entrance exams like the ACT or the SAT. Parents may even be required to pay for a college exam preparatory course.

St. Charles IL divorce attorneyWhen going through a divorce, you may not have future consequences at the top of your list of priorities. Many people either forget about the long-term consequences of divorce or ignore them. Either way, not considering the long-term impact of your decisions can cause more stress in the long run. The downfall for many people going through a divorce occurs during the asset division process. You may be focused on your assets and fighting to get what you believe you deserve in the moment, but it is also necessary to understand the long-term effects of your decisions, including the implications for your taxes after divorce.

Things to Keep in Mind About Taxes During Divorce

When it comes to dividing your property and debts, taxes should also be a part of the equation. Even if tax issues are not an immediate concern, they can impact your overall financial health in the long run. When you go through the asset division process, here are a few things you should take into consideration concerning your tax situation:

  • Your tax filing status will likely change. Most married couples file joint tax returns, but once you are divorced, you will no longer be “married filing jointly,” but rather, “single.” This can change the amount of tax that you owe come tax time, depending on your income.

Kane County family law attorneyEven after taking all of the necessary steps to ensure a child support order that accounts for all of your children’s needs, things can change. After all, it has been said the only constant thing in life is change. When your child’s needs or your financial situation has changed, you can request a review of your child support order to determine whether a modification is necessary. A judge will usually only find a modification necessary if they determine that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. But what does that actually mean? Understanding what the court considers a substantial change in circumstances can help you determine whether or not you should request a modification to your child support order.

How Are “Substantial Changes in Circumstances” Determined?

Unlike many other things in family law cases, Illinois does not actually provide a definition for a “substantial change in circumstances.” This means that this is left up to interpretation by the judge or agency conducting the modification review. In most cases, a substantial change in circumstances means that the situation has changed since the original child support order was entered and that the change is significant enough to warrant a review of the order and a potential change in the amount of support paid.

Examples of Substantial Changes in Circumstances

There are various reasons why you may need to change your child support order. Under normal circumstances, a child support order is only eligible for review every three years, unless you can prove that there has been a change in your child’s needs or either parent’s financial situation. For example, common situations in which a change may be warranted include:

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