Raising children is expensive. The cost of housing, clothing, food, extra-curricular expenses, and college can amount to several hundred thousand dollars. The list seems endless, particularly if these costs are paid from the income of only one parent.
Under Illinois law both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children, but not necessarily equally. Child Support isn’t calculated by simply determining and splitting expenses.
In Illinois Child Support issues are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”) which directs the Court to apply “Statutory Guideline” percentages (depending on the number of children) to the “Net Income” (which is defined in 750 ILCS 5/505) of the non-custodial parent to determine the proper Child Support amount.
Even though Child Support calculations are formula-based, there are individual circumstances that factor into support awards (such as if the non-custodial parent is self-employed, gets paid in cash, or gets large fluctuating bonuses). As a result, under certain circumstances, the court can deviate from the Statutory Guidelines and allow higher or lower percentage amounts.
It is also important to understand that Net Income as defined for Child Support purposes is generally not the same as take home pay. As Child Support is typically paid for many years, even small dollar errors can become significant. There are also possibilities to eliminate Child Support payments (i.e. Shared Joint Custody).
The complexities of Child Support don’t end with finding all sources of income and applying a formula. Child Support is not deductible for tax purposes by the paying parent or taxable to the receiving parent. Child Support payments are intended to cover necessary and miscellaneous expenses (e.g. housing, food, clothing, medical, education, recreation and vacation), but not all child related expenses. Which parent is responsible to pay these other expenses such as health insurance, day care, and college educations must also be determined. Your children’s financial needs are real. You need peace of mind. There is help.
How We Help Reduce Your Stress and Make Sure the Child Support Figure is Accurate
You need a good detail-oriented Illinois Child Support attorney who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and investigate all possible sources of income. We can help reduce your stress by taking on the full responsibility for investigating all sources of income, making sure the proper deductions are made to arrive at Net Income, and arguing for an upward or downward deviation from the Statutory Guidelines when appropriate.
We will also make sure the responsibility for the payment of other child-related expenses (such as health insurance, day care expenses, orthodontia, and private school tuition) not intended to be covered by Child Support is properly handled in the divorce.
You don’t need to stress over every detail. We can help.
If you are being paid Child Support, we will make sure you get your fair share. If you are paying Child Support, we will make sure you are not over paying.
We can handle all of the Child Support aspects of your divorce. If you would like to read more now, click on any of the following links: