Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to support their children financially. When unmarried parents have a child together or married parents get divorced, the court may require one of the parents to pay child support to the other. Money from child support can be used to cover housing expenses, educational costs such as private school tuition, extracurricular fees, groceries, and everyday expenses. Whether you are planning to divorce soon or you are an unmarried parent, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities regarding child support.
How Is The Amount Of Child Support Determined In Illinois?
The amount of child support that a parent is required to pay is determined by the state's guidelines. These guidelines take into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and other factors. Income is determined by looking at the net income of both parents, which includes salary, wages, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income. The guidelines also take into account any other children from a previous relationship that the parents are responsible for supporting.
What Happens If A Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?
If a parent does not pay child support, the other parent can take legal action to enforce the child support judgment. Penalties for failure to pay child support can include wage garnishment, seizure of tax refunds, suspension of driver's licenses and professional licenses, and even jail time.
Can The Amount Of Child Support Be Modified?
The amount of child support can be modified if there is a significant change in the circumstances of either parent or a change in the child’s needs. This can include a significant change in income for either parent, job loss, increased medical expenses for the child, and other major changes. If a parent wishes to request a child support modification, he or she can ask for a modification review. The parents will be asked to fill out a Certification of Income and Expenses form that describes their current financial circumstances.
How Long Does A Parent Have To Pay Child Support?
In Illinois, a parent is required to pay child support until the child turns 18 or until the child graduates from high school, whichever comes later. If the child is disabled, the parent may be required to pay child support beyond the age of 18. Parents may also be required to help finance their child’s college education.
How Does a Parent Establish a Child Support Order?
Child support is not automatic. If a parent wants to receive child support from the other parent, he or she will need to take the appropriate judicial or administrative action to do so. It is important to remember that a father is only responsible for child support if paternity is established. If an unmarried couple has a child, parents can establish paternity through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, a court order, or an administrative order through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. In some situations, a DNA test is needed to confirm paternity.
Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Child Support Lawyer
The experienced Wheaton family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group represent both payers and recipients of child support. If you need to establish, change, or enforce a child support order, contact us for help. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.