For Expert Legal Advice on Child Support, Contact Crosby & Crosby Law
In divorce or family law (paternity) cases involving children, child support is a crucial issue, and for many different reasons, you will probably need the counsel of an experienced child support attorney like those at Crosby & Crosby Law. As an example, you may need legal assistance securing the proper amount of child support if you are the residential parent, the obligee.
On the other hand, if you’re the obligor, the non-residential parent paying child support, you may need legal assistance in ensuring you’re not paying an unduly burdensome amount every month. Or, you may need help securing the modification of an earlier child support order.
Child Support Basics
The term “child support,” means the amount of money that one parent must pay the other parent following a divorce or family law (or paternity) case, the purpose being to make sure any children from the marriage are adequately cared for. Child support provides funds to be used for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of the child or children involved.
Child support is intended to offset the burden of costs related to raising the child while maintaining the child’s standard of living as they move between the homes of their parents.
Among other things, this means that in a situation where one parent (we’ll call them parent A) has less income than the other, or parent A has the child or children a greater amount of time than parent B, child support helps parent A provide adequately for the child’s needs.
What Child Support to Be Used For, and What Is Excluded
With those basics in mind, we should also point out things that child support is to be used to help pay for, as well as things not considered to be essential child support.
Generally, child support is to be used to maintain a decent and safe place for a child to live and includes:
- Common household expenses, including food, utilities, furnishings, rent, or mortgage payments.
- Things that meet the basic needs of a child, including clothing and toys.
- School supplies.
- Day-to-day medical needs such as cough medication, allergy medication, Tylenol, Advil, and the like.
Child support is not intended to cover the following:
- School fees and tuition.
- Extracurricular enrollment fees.
- Excesses medical expenses such as copays, deductibles, glasses, orthodontic work, pharmaceutical expenses, and other specialist medical expenses.
- Child care expenses such as daycare, after-school care and before-school care.
Those costs are considered, “child-related expenses.” Typically, the Court will order, or the parties will agree to an appropriate division of such expenses.
In addition, child support is not intended to pay for such things as the other parent’s personal expenses, dining out, entertainment, and other non-essential expenses.
If the receiving parent has any leftover child support funds at the end of the month, those funds should be set aside to meet future expenses.
Illinois’ Previous Child Support Law
In the past, the amount the obligor owed each month was calculated by taking their net income (after taxes and other expenses) and applying to that amount a percentage, based on the number of children in the marriage.
For example, an obligor would pay each month 20 percent of their net income for one child, and 28 percent for two children, progressing to up to 50 percent for six or more children.
Illinois’ New Child Support Law
Under new state legislation that went into effect on July 1, 2017, the net income of both parents is now considered when determining monthly child support.
The combined gross income is plugged into an income shares chart to determine the monthly obligation of each parent. Net income can be used for the calculation, but only under specific circumstances and when approved by the Court.
Typically, the amount for the custodial parent – with the majority of parenting time – will be presumed to be already applied toward the child’s expenses. The amount for the paying parent (the obligor) will be their monthly child support payment which they will make to the other parent.
Court-Imposed Deviations in the Best Interest of the Child
All that said, the Court will sometimes deviate from the formulaic, state-mandated minimum requirements if the Court finds that such a deviation is in the best interests of the child. Determining factors for the deviation could include:
- The financial needs of the child.
- The emotional, physical, and educational needs of the child.
- The financial responsibilities and needs of each parent.
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended.
While deviations are possible, they are uncommon. Be sure to speak with your family law or divorce attorney about these specific issues.
Child Support Modification
In Illinois, modification of child support is always possible. To accomplish a modification, however, a parent must show that there has been a “substantial change of circumstances,” usually related to a change in the income of one of the parents. In addition, things such as an increase in health insurance premiums or an increase in the child’s other expenses may also lead to a modification. Otherwise, child support is eligible for modification every three years, with or without proving a substantial change in circumstances.
Termination of Child Support
Finally, please note that in Illinois child support payments terminate when the child turns 18 or when they graduate from high school if they are still in school when they reach the age of 18. If your child is still in high school when they turn 19, child support will be eligible for termination upon turning 19 as well.
Crosby & Crosby Law -Your Child Support Attorney in Rockford, IL
Family law is one of our practice areas at Crosby & Crosby, and if you have a pending divorce and child support case, or if you are trying to secure modification of monthly child support payments, we urge you to contact our firm.
We will be glad to provide a free initial consultation to consider the merits of your case. Based on our years of legal experience, we will advise you on the best course of action for the future.
For expert legal advice in Rockford, IL on matters related to child support, contact the law firm of Crosby & Crosby today.