Posted on in Child Support

DuPage County Child Support LawyerChild support is understandably one of the most contentious elements of divorce. Parents who receive child support often feel as though the funds are insufficient for the needs of the children, or fear they will struggle to provide if the paying parent fails to meet his or her obligations. For the parent who is responsible for making child support payments, he or she often worries that the children’s needs are being neglected while the receiving parent buys things for themself. 

Illinois law allows parents receiving child support wide leeway when deciding how to spend the money. Unfortunately, however, there are parents who neglect their children’s needs because of frivolous spending on themselves. In situations like this, legal remedies are available. 

Legitimate Child Support Expenditures

Child support is intended to ensure children have what they need to grow up healthy and whole, and the parent who receives child support is responsible for using that money to meet the child’s needs. Food, clothing, and medical expenses are absolute necessities and the failure to provide these can result in serious harm to a child’s wellbeing. 

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IL divorce lawyerYour previous marriage is behind you and you have moved on with your life after divorce. In fact, you have even met someone new, and are considering getting remarried. Thinking about your former spouse is probably the last thing you want to do in this situation, but your remarriage can have a substantial impact on your divorce agreement and future arrangements with your ex.

Understanding how a new marriage may affect spousal support and child support is an important part of getting remarried because the changes could impact not only you but your future spouse as well.

How Does Remarriage Affect Spousal Support in Illinois?

For the recipient of spousal support, getting remarried terminates the right to receive payments. However, many recipients of spousal support know this and will attempt to delay or avoid getting remarried in order to continue receiving spousal support. Illinois law disfavors this strategy and dictates that spousal support terminates when the recipient spouse begins cohabitating with a new partner. The recipient is required by law to immediately notify their former spouse of their remarriage or cohabitation.

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IL child support lawyerWomen have made historical strides in the last 100 years in America. As recently as the 70s, women needed a man’s signature to obtain a credit card. Today, however, women are outperforming men in earning high school diplomas, university degrees, and even graduate degrees in medicine and law. More and more women are the primary breadwinners in their households.

These rapid changes in American women’s economic status have begun to reflect in the nation’s child support statistics. Although there is a long-standing suspicion in the American social consciousness that men are less likely to get allocated parental responsibilities for their children - and therefore more likely to pay child support - this is increasingly untrue. Men often are given parental responsibilities after divorce, and when this happens, fathers have a right to receive child support from the child’s mother for the same reasons and in the same amounts that men must pay.

When Do Mothers Have to Pay Child Support?

Illinois law states that a child has a legal right to material support from both parents, and attempts to provide a child material support by estimating the financial benefits the child would have received if the parents had not gotten divorced.

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IL family lawyerChild support costs can be expensive, and the paying parent may understandably be reluctant to hand over money for expenses they view as extra or unnecessary. Often, the paying parent feels as though their money is being used for other purposes than supporting the child. However, if the court considers an expense necessary, even if it is above and beyond monthly child support payments, you may be required to pay your portion.

What Are Some Common Extra Expenses?

  • Child Care – For children who are not old enough to attend school, a working parent with parental responsibilities will need to consider daycare, preschool, or private childcare. Child care may also include expenses related to before- and after-school care or summer camps. Courts require expenses to be reasonable and will consider the ability of each parent to pay in proportion to their income.
  • Extracurricular and Educational Activities – Children are often involved in sports teams, dance classes, music lessons, and other activities that can be very costly. Even if a child is in public school, there are usually costs for books, lunch, testing, and college-credit classes. Courts can require parents to contribute to reasonable expenses related to school and extracurricular activities beyond the monthly cost of child support.
  • Medical Expenses - Even when a child is on their parent’s insurance plan, and even if the plan has great coverage, chances are that eventually there will be uncovered medical expenses. These might come in the form of an expensive prescription, treatment by an orthodontist, or a new pair of glasses. Whatever the cost, a court can order a parent to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses.

How Will We Split the Cost?

Illinois courts try to arrange for equitable payment, so every situation is going to be different. Sometimes courts split extra costs 50/50, sometimes they are split 80/20; it depends on the ability of each parent to pay, any former obligations they may have, and any provisions set forth in the divorce decree.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois Child Support law can be complex. The consequences for misunderstanding your obligation or failing to pay can be expensive and might even include criminal charges. Hiring a Wheaton, IL child support attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group may help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure you are meeting your obligations. Call us today for a free consultation at 630-871-1002.

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DuPage County child support attorneyOnce an Illinois divorce decree is final, child support payments become a legally binding obligation. In addition to the devastating consequences a lack of timely payments can have on a family’s financial needs, there are serious legal consequences for failing to pay child support. Spouses cannot simply agree to re-negotiate child support themselves; any modifications to child support must be made by a court order.

The paying parent may fall behind on child support payments because of a change in their financial situation, or because they simply stop paying. Regardless of the reason, recovering unpaid child support can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Fortunately, there is legal recourse available for parents who need to recover past child support payments.

Legal Consequences

The State of Illinois takes the welfare of children very seriously. There is a specific law, called the Non-Support Punishment Act, that lists several behaviors for which a non-paying parent may face criminal charges. According to this law, a person can be held accountable for failure to support if he or she has the ability to provide the support and does one of the following:

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