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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

Whether you are getting a divorce or you are an unmarried parent, child support is an important concern. Of course, you will want to ensure that your children’s basic needs, including food, clothing, and shelter, are provided for. However, raising kids can often include additional expenses for which you may want contributions from the other parent. When you are negotiating or determining a child support agreement, you should think beyond the basics to consider all of these costs that are necessary to maintain your children’s quality of life.

Special Expenses to Consider in Your Child Support Calculations

When calculating child support obligations, the State of Illinois considers the children’s physical and emotional condition, educational needs, and the standard of living the children could have expected if their parents were together. Ensuring that payments meet these standards often requires the inclusion of more than just basic needs. Other common expenses that can be covered through child support include:

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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen contemplating divorce, you may be concerned about how it will affect your children. Even if you and your spouse have been unhappy for years, you may have put off filing to protect your kids’ feelings. Although you may think this is in the best interests of your children, it is sometimes better to end the marriage. Kids can sense the constant tension and turmoil, which can be detrimental to their emotional well-being. Once a couple decides to divorce, there are many issues that need to be addressed, including the division of marital property, child support, spousal maintenance, and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Child support payments are court-ordered, but in some cases, a parent may fall behind on payments or fail to pay altogether. Since the other parent relies on this financial assistance to care for the children, it may be necessary to enforce the order. If you are struggling to collect child support payments, a skilled family law attorney can advise you of your legal options.

Enforcing Court Orders

In Illinois, child support services are administered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). A child support order, however, is issued by the court and enforceable under penalty of law. Therefore, a parent who fails to pay his or her designated child support can be held in contempt of court. In extreme contempt situations, an obligor who fails to pay child support may be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail.

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Kane County child support lawyersWhether you are in the process of pursuing past-due child support, need to create a new support order, or are the paying parent facing collections for support, such expenses quickly add up and make a significant dent on your finances. The process of collecting or paying child support can take time, as each case is different and some are more challenging than others. Newly divorced parents who are being introduced to the process can feel especially overwhelmed, and those who have been long divorced can suddenly find themselves in the midst of all new tensions when financial disagreements arise. The mere subject of collection can be a touchy one, which is why it is so important to educate yourself at the onset of child support proceedings, no matter what role you play in your child’s life.

What Does a Child Support Hearing Typically Entail?

Should you be required to attend a hearing for your child support order, the hearing will be conducted by either a judge or the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). You will be expected to testify to a variety of questions, which will help the court determine how to proceed with your child support order. The questions you must answer will depend on the type of hearing you are attending and the circumstances surrounding your support case. Unwed parents who have not yet established paternity will be required to answer a different set of questions than newly divorced parents, as the legal circumstances differ. 

In general, however, there are some common topics every parent can expect to address at a hearing, including:

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St. Charles divorce attorneysIn Illinois, basic child support payments end when the child reaches 18 years of age or if the child earns a high school diploma (whichever comes last). During the divorce process, parents can come to an agreement in regards to their child’s continuing education costs. If an agreement cannot be reached, either party can petition a family court to address the matter and possibly assign a fair amount to be divided between both parents and the child. This amount is intended to specific eligible expenses related to college, trade school, or other post-high school education programs (i.e. tuition, housing, textbooks, etc…). Pre-college expenses such as application fees and ACT/SAT test fees could be included in the parental support payment agreement.

Support can be granted for a college-level child until their 23rd birthday or their graduation (whichever comes first). For good cause shown, the court could extend the support until the child’s 25th birthday.

How Is College Expense Support Determined?

Many college students pay for tuition and other expenses on their own. Others are granted scholarships for academic or athletic ability to help with college expenses. Why then would it be necessary to order divorced parents to pay for their non-minor child’s school fees?

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St. Charles family law attorneyEvery child has the right to be supported by both a mother and a father. There are some cases in which this is unable to happen due to the death of a parent. However, in cases where two parents are alive, both should be responsible for the upbringing of the minor. Unwed couples often have a more difficult time raising a child together, especially if the alleged father is denying paternity of the child. Most men deny a child because they do not want to assume the financial responsibility of raising a baby with a woman to whom he is not married.

In these cases, a mother can ask the court to order a paternity test to prove that a man is the father of her child. Once paternity is established, the mother can move on to file a petition for child support, and the couple can work on visitation rights of the father.

Why is it Important to Establish Paternity?

Unmarried parents in Illinois must establish paternity if they birth a child before marriage or else the father cannot be llsted on the child’s birth certificate. The child will suffer as well if paternity is not established because he or she might not have:

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