5 Things to Know About Child Support in Illinois
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
When you are in the process of getting divorced or are separating from a partner with whom you have minor children, you should be prepared to be possibly pay a child support obligation. You and the other parent will share that obligation, as Illinois expects both parents to contribute to their kids’ financial well-being. If you are getting divorced or splitting up with your child’s other parent, you should learn more about how the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) handles certain child support issues.
1. Illinois Now Uses an “Income Shares” Model for Calculating Child Support
Illinois recently switched to an “income shares” model of child support. This means the court combines both parents’ incomes, calculates the total child support obligation based on that amount (from existing guidelines) and then assigns a percentage of that amount to each parent based on each parent’s total income and other factors.
2. Number of Overnights With Your Kids Can Impact Your Child Support Obligation
The number of overnights you have with your kids can affect your overall child support obligation. This is most common when one parent has a majority of parenting time (many more overnights than the other parent). The parent with fewer overnights may be responsible for a larger percentage of the child support obligation.
3. Illinois Law Outlines Penalties for Nonpayment of Child Support
Under the IMDMA, a parent who has not met his/her child support obligation can face numerous additional costs and penalties. For example, a child support obligation that goes unpaid will accrue simple interest over time. In terms of penalties, Illinois can take a variety of steps to hold a nonpaying parent accountable, including suspending a parent’s driving privileges.
4. Child Support Can Be Modified Under Certain Circumstances
If you unexpectedly lose your job or suddenly cannot work due to an injury, you may be able to modify your child support obligation. You will need to be able to show there has been a substantial change in circumstances that necessitates a modification, and you should file a Motion with the Court immediately, as the Court can not lower your child support before the date of the filing of that Motion.
5. Parents May Be Ordered to Contribute to Educational Expenses (or College Expenses)
Support for your children does not necessarily end when they turn 18 and graduate from high school. While many states do not have specific provisions for educational or college expenses, Illinois does. An Illinois court can order one or both parents contribute to the child’s educational expenses, which can include the actual cost of post-secondary expenses, including college or university tuition and fees, as well as the actual costs of housing and other expenses. However, it is important to know educational expenses do not include any amount that it might cost to attend an expensive private university. Rather, educational expenses are limited to “the amount of in-state tuition and fees paid by a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the same academic year.” The child does not have to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but the required expenses cannot exceed the costs that a student there would incur, except by agreement.
Contact a Chicago area Child Support Lawyer
Planning for and calculating child support in Illinois can be complicated and it is difficult to know what your rights and obligations are when you lose your job or otherwise cannot afford to pay your child support obligation. An experienced Chicago child support attorney at our firm can speak with you today about your case. Gordon & Perlut, LLC for more information.