Illinois Child Support Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or parentage case with children involved, you may have to pay child support. In general, the noncustodial parent pays child support, and child support is intended to support the best interests of the child, not a punishment or a payment to the other parent. (The assumption is that the custodial parent is already paying their share).
Why You Need a Lawyer
You need a lawyer to help represent your interests and ensure that you receive a fair amount of support – or conversely, don’t have to pay an unfair amount. A lawyer can help make sure that, while your child is supported, a judge does not hand down an order that would be impossible for you to pay, or that is less than what is required if you are the recipient. At Midwest Legal Care, we have the experience needed to help you deal with a child support order and with potential changes which might affect the amount you are asked to pay. We can help you when your lifestyle or that of your child(ren) changes and when you or your ex remarry.
Illinois Child Support Guidelines
Child support in Illinois is generally calculated using a specific formula, which is called the “Income Shares Method.” This typically calculates child support by taking the gross income of each parent, converting it into standardized net income (A chart can be found here), and then adding them up before working out what percentage each parent made. They then use the Income Shares Schedule to work out what each child is owed, and split it according to the percentage each parent earned. So, if you made 75% of your combined income, you have to pay 75% of child support.
A judge may deviate from these guidelines for a good reason. This might include things like the child’s educational needs (such as private school tuition), medical needs (disabled, chronically ill and special needs children may be awarded higher support). The judge has to give a reason for this.
Modification and Enforcement
Modification could occur when there is a situation that affects either the amount of money the child needs or the amount you are able to pay. For example, you can request modification if you lose your job or become disabled. If you are the parent receiving child support and your ex’s income increases, you may also be entitled to an upward modification. You need a good lawyer to help you prove that a change in circumstances has occurred.
Enforcement in Illinois is serious. A contempt of court action can result if you don’t pay child support. You should not withhold child support if your ex is withholding visitation (instead, call your lawyer). Contempt of court can result in fines and jail time. It is always better to go to the court and try to get modification if you are unable to pay or are having issues with visitation.
If you are going through a divorce and need an experienced lawyer to help you with child support, or if you need a lawyer to help you get a child support order modified, Midwest Legal Care can help. Contact us for a free initial consultation and find out how we can help you.