Calabrese Associates, P.C.

Call Us630-393-3111

4200 Cantera Drive, Suite 200 | Warrenville, IL 60555

Naperville child support lawyersParents who have divorced or separated will sometimes disagree on how much each side should have to pay towards child support. If the parents were never married, it can be an ordeal for the mother to prove paternity in order to require the father to pay child support. Even after proving paternity, the father may be unhappy about having to pay. Whatever the reason may be, not paying the required child support amount is harmful to the children because it takes away money that is meant for living expenses. As the parent who is supposed to receive child support, you need to make sure that your child support order is being enforced.

Start with Communication

You should try to resolve the issue with your co-parent out of court before filing a complaint about a violation of your child support order. Find out why they missed their payment and when they plan to make it up. If they could not afford the payment that month, you can try to work with them but remind them that they are still required to pay the amount stated in the child support order unless the order is modified. If they do not respond or are being uncooperative, you may have no choice but to seek legal enforcement.

Enforcing Child Support

If you receive your payments through Illinois’ Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), the DCSS has the means to legally force your co-parent to pay child support. If you do not use the DCSS, you can file a motion in court claiming that your co-parent is in violation of your child support order. The court has several ways of retrieving money from your co-parent, including:

...

What Does Child Support Pay for in Illinois?Child support payments are required whenever two parents are no longer together, whether it is through divorce or separation. Unlike parental responsibilities, a parent cannot relinquish their financial obligation towards their child while the child is still a minor – and sometimes into adulthood if a parent is ordered to help pay for college. Typically, the parent with a greater share of parenting time will receive child support payments from the other parent because the court assumes that they will be the person in charge of child-related expenses. What can and should child support payments be used for?

How Child Support Should Be Spent

The total child support amount that you and your co-parent are responsible for is how much Illinois estimates it should cost to care for your children, based on the number of children you have and the standard of living you can afford on your incomes. The total is meant to cover basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. You can add other expenses to your total in order to cover healthcare, childcare, and school and extracurricular expenses. It is not a requirement that all of a child support payment be spent directly on the children because there are some expenses that are indirectly tied to the children. For instance, paying rent or a mortgage is related to the children because having children determined the size of the home you are living in.

Are There Any Restrictions on How Someone Uses Child Support?

It would go against the intention of Illinois’ child support law if a parent spent child support money on things that are unrelated to the children, such as:

...

Work Stoppage May Require Child Support ModificationsThough much of the U.S. economy has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, many expenses continue on as normal. For parents who have divorced or separated, child support payments are still necessary. Unfortunately, parents may have increased difficulty paying for child-related expenses if they have lost their jobs or are not receiving pay. You need to immediately talk with a divorce lawyer if your income has been reduced, whether you are the payer of child support or the recipient.

Consequences for Payers

The only way to lawfully reduce the amount of child support you pay to your co-parent is by modifying your child support order in court. Losing your job makes you immediately eligible to modify your child support payments, but the courts may be slow to act on it because they are partially shut down due to the virus outbreak. Once your case is heard, the court will likely calculate a new child support amount based on your current income. Unemployment benefits will count towards that income.

If you are already behind on making child support payments, you now have an added incentive to catch up with the payments if you can. The federal stimulus bill includes a one-time payout of $1,200 for adults who meet the income requirements. However, one of the senators who authored the bill has publicly stated that the payment may be offset in part or in full if the recipient is reported to have missed child support payments.

...

Reasons to Contest a Child Support Modification RequestEither parent in a child support agreement is allowed to request a modification to increase or decrease the monthly payments. Co-parents often disagree on whether a modification should be allowed, and the parent who is requesting the modification bears the burden of proving their case. The court will consider the request if three years have passed since the agreement was created or last modified or if there has been a significant change in circumstances for either parent. A parent who claims a reduction in their income can request that their child support payments be reduced or that their co-parent’s payments be increased. However, the court may still reject the modification depending on the circumstances:

  1. Voluntary Unemployment: A parent cannot claim a change of circumstances if they voluntarily quit their job or took a significant pay cut. Even if they involuntarily lost their job, they must make a good faith effort to find new employment within a reasonable amount of time. A parent who is capable of working cannot forgo employment and expect their co-parent to cover the child-related expenses for an indefinite period.
  2. Not a Significant Change: A minor reduction in income does not mean that a parent is no longer capable of making the same child support payments. The court will expect the parent to try to continue paying their share of child support by dipping into their disposable income before it orders the other parent to contribute more child support.
  3. Optional Expenditures: When a parent makes questionable or unnecessary purchases, they may be using money that should have gone towards child support. Using their budget on luxury expenses is not a good reason for a parent to try to modify child support.
  4. Bankruptcy: Filing for bankruptcy is a significant change in financial circumstances but does not necessarily mean that child support payments should be modified. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the parent’s monthly income should not change, meaning they can still afford child support. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, part of the parent’s income is going towards a long-term repayment plan. Child support payments are a priority in the repayment plan, and the court will decide whether the support amount should be modified to accommodate the repayment plan.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

When considering a modification to child support, the most important factor is whether the children’s needs are being met. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will work on your behalf to modify child support payments or contest an unnecessary modification. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.

Source:

...

Illinois Court Questions Law Requiring Divorced Parents to Pay for CollegeThe Illinois Supreme Court has upheld a portion of the state’s divorce law that can order both parents to help pay for a child’s college education, in response to a circuit court judge who ruled that it was unconstitutional. The circuit court judge had decided that forcing a divorced parent to contribute to college expenses is a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which promises equal protection under state laws. Rather than argue the merit of the claim, the supreme court said that the circuit court judge lacked the authority to strike down the law because the supreme court had previously ruled that the law was constitutional. Only the supreme court has the authority to overturn that ruling, it said.

College Expenses

The law in question is Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which states that courts may order divorced parents to use their assets and incomes to pay for a child’s post-high school education. Expenses may include:

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Books and supplies
  • Reasonable living expenses
  • Medical expenses

Divorced parents can share these expenses by allocating assets in their divorce agreement towards paying for college or continuing child support payments until the child graduates with a bachelor’s degree or turns 23, whichever happens first. The age deadline can be extended to 25 if good cause is shown. Continued child support payments may be dependent upon the child’s academic performance.

...
Back to Top