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St. Charles divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In Illinois, spousal support or maintenance is not a guaranteed part of all divorce orders; rather, it is generally only ordered if one spouse has a financial need and there is an imbalance in income and assets between the two parties. As a result, it can often be a contentious part of the divorce process, as the two parties may have different ideas as to whether a spousal support order is justified. This contention may continue even after the divorce is finalized as both parties’ circumstances change. If you have been ordered to pay spousal support and you believe that you should no longer have to do so, you may have legal options to pursue the modification or termination of the spousal support order.

Reasons to Modify a Spousal Maintenance Order

You should know that it is usually not possible to stop paying spousal support simply because you are angry or upset with your ex-spouse. Rather, you will need to demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a reduction to your obligation. Possible reasons for a modification include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting time

When you are getting a divorce, reaching an agreement on parenting time can be challenging both emotionally and logistically. It is often hard for parents and children alike to adjust to an arrangement in which they no longer live with each other full time, and with the schedules of several different people to consider, it may be hard to find a solution that allows both parents to make the most of their time while interrupting the children’s routine as little as possible. It is important to think carefully as you create your initial parenting plan and to be open to change in the coming years if necessary.

How to Create a Parenting Time Schedule

During the divorce process in Illinois, the court will usually ask each parent to submit a proposed parenting plan that addresses many important issues regarding parenting time, including a schedule of days to be spent with each parent, plans for transportation between homes, provisions for holidays, and other extenuating circumstances, and provisions for the process of modifying the plan in the future. The court will issue a decision after reviewing both parents’ proposed plans. However, if the parents are able to work together to create a plan, the court will often approve of it as long as the proposed plan is in the children’s best interests.

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St. Charles divorce attorney child support

When a child’s parents are divorced or unmarried, child support is an important means of ensuring that the child’s needs are provided for financially. However, it is not always easy for a paying parent to fulfill his or her obligations, especially in the midst of financial hardship. If you are struggling to pay court-ordered child support for whatever reason, an attorney can help you explore your options and pursue the one that best meets your needs.

Child Support Obligations in Illinois

Since July 2017, basic child support obligations in Illinois have been calculated based on a proportional share of the two parents’ combined net incomes. This often helps to ensure that both parents are treated fairly and that child support obligations do not create an undue financial burden on either party. That said, you may still find it challenging to fulfill your obligation in the months and years following the initial court order.

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St. Charles family law attorneyDuring a divorce, parents may develop  a parenting plan that is beneficial for both themselves and their children. Although these plans are often created with much thought and detail, changes can occur that may require a modification. Updated schedules, unexpected relocations, and the children's education or extracurricular activities could cause issues to arise. Depending on the reasons behind the potential adjustment, as well as the agreement of both parents, a court may approve a modification request. Ultimately, the court will make a decision that is in the best interest of the involved children.

What Should Parents Consider Before Deciding Responsibilities?

Aspects of a person's life may change significantly after a divorce is final. For parents that are getting divorced, it is important to reach mutual agreements on key factors that will affect your future and that of your children. For example, the distance between each parent’s residences is a topic that may lead to significant difficulties if either parent wishes to find a new place to live. Although a new residence may work better for one parent, it might not be compatible with the children's school schedule. Furthermore, children may have difficulties adjusting to a new community. The wishes of each parent and the child (as appropriate) should be considered before a parenting plan is finalized.    

Modification Limitations

For children going through a divorce, having a relationship with both parents could be in their best interest. Creating a stable environment for children can help foster their growth and development. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Marriage Act, unless the children's well-being is at risk, an adjustment will not usually be made within the first two years of the original agreement.

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St. Charles child support lawyerIllinois considers it the right of any child to receive financial support from both of his or her parents. Child support can allow a child with divorced or unmarried parents to experience the same opportunities and quality of life as he or she would with parents who are together. Illinois courts use a specific method, called “income shares,” to calculate fair and reasonable child support obligations. However, if something major changes in the life of either parent or the child, the child support order may need to be amended. It is important to learn the steps you should take to request a child support modification in Illinois.

What Should I Do If I Cannot Afford Child Support?

Child support payments can often be a substantial part of a parent’s overall expenses. If you realize that you cannot make your support payment, never simply stop paying. Child support nonpayment is taken very seriously by Illinois courts and you could face serious consequences for neglecting your obligation. Parents who fail to pay their court-ordered child support can face steep fines, wage and bank account garnishment, property liens, interception of tax returns, and more. In the most egregious cases, failure to pay child support can be considered a criminal offense punishable by jail time. If you realize that you cannot make your support payment, notify the recipient of support and your local county court house. To request a change in child support, file a Petition for Modification of Child Support with the court.

Grounds for Child Support Modification

Child support obligations cannot be changed without good reason. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Division of Child Support Services outlines the grounds on which a child support order can be changed. You can qualify for a modification review if one or more of the following circumstances exists:

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