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naperville child support lawyerWhen couples that have children together decide to file for a divorce, many challenging questions arise regarding how to continue raising and supporting the children. These questions include who will retain the majority of parenting time, where the children will live, how parents will divide custody and visitation time, and which parent will be required to pay child support. Child support is the amount of financial assistance that the parent with less parenting time will pay to the parent with the greater amount of parenting time. These payments are usually a part of a divorced couple's divorce agreement, and they are calculated using the Income Shares Model to ensure both parents' financial situations are being considered. 

Using the Income Shares Method for Child Support Calculation 

The Income Shares Model is a financial tool used to calculate child support payments in a way that is equitable and fair. The court will weigh both spouses' individual incomes and financial responsibilities against each other to determine how much child support to award the parent with the majority of parenting time. 

Parents can understand the Income Shared Method by breaking it into five key steps: 

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IL divorce lawyerThe cost of attending college or university has skyrocketed in the last few decades. It is more expensive than ever to attend a two- or four-year college program. If you are a parent who is in the process of divorcing or already divorced, you may wonder how you and your ex will cover this cost. Will you split college tuition and housing costs 50/50? What if the other parent refuses to contribute to your child’s college education?

Illinois Law Regarding College Expenses for Divorced Parents

Illinois is unique in the fact that the state can require divorced parents to contribute to their child’s college education. Many parents are surprised to learn that mandatory financial support may continue even after the child has turned 18 and graduated high school.

Unlike child support payments, which are calculated using a specific formula that uses both parents’ net incomes, the amount a parent may be required to contribute to college expenses varies. Illinois courts have discretion to determine how much each parent pays. If the parents cannot agree on how to cover college costs, the court will divide costs between the parents. Sometimes, the child himself or herself is also expected to contribute to his or her college education.

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Bolingbrook Child Support LawyerChild support payments help unmarried and divorced parents share child-related costs. In Illinois, child support is usually calculated using the Income Shares formula. Each parent’s net income is factored into the formula so that the amount of child support is reasonably affordable and allows the child the same standard of living as he or she would experience if the parents were married. Unfortunately, calculating child support is not always this straightforward. Unusual income sources, unemployment, financial deception, and other issues can complicate child support calculations significantly.

What Counts as Income?

The amount of child support a parent pays is based on a carefully designed formula that uses each parent’s net income. Net income includes not only wages, but all other forms of income as well. Bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, income from rental properties, investment income, pensions, Social Security, inheritance, and even personal injury settlements or workers’ compensation awards may count as income. Net income excludes taxes and child support or spousal support orders from a previous relationship.  

What if a Parent Lies About Their Income?

Unfortunately, some parents are less than forthcoming about finances during a divorce or child support proceeding. If your spouse is not disclosing all income sources, contact a family law attorney for help. Child support payments should always be based on the most up-to-date, accurate financial information.

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Plainfield Divorce LawyerStay-at-home moms and dads who get divorced face a unique set of circumstances. For many parents, the justification for staying home with the kids was largely based on the other spouse’s income. If you are a parent who has sacrificed a career to care for your children full-time, you may be worried about the financial implications of divorce. You may also worry about how you and your children will adjust to life after the separation. There is no getting around it: Divorce as a stay-at-home parent is complicated and emotionally taxing. Fortunately, Illinois law provides options that may help.

Temporary Relief Orders Can Provide Financial Support and Stability

Unfortunately, many stay-at-home parents stay in unhappy or even abusive marriages because of concerns about money. If a parent has not held a job in several years, they may worry about having the financial means to leave their spouse. If you are in this situation, you should know that you may be able to get financial assistance from the other spouse through a temporary relief order.

Divorce cases may take months or even years to resolve. Fortunately, you do not have to wait until the divorce is complete to get child support or spousal support. You can petition the court for a temporary relief order which will require your spouse to pay child support and/or spousal support. The court will consider both spouses’ financial resources, the standard of living during the marriage, and the children's needs when deciding on a child support or spousal support temporary relief order.

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Bolingbrook Family Law AttorneyOriginally Posted April 13, 2020 ---- Updated Post November 11, 2021

Any parent can confirm that raising children is expensive -- especially when you are doing so on a single income. If you are divorced or soon will be, it is important to know how Illinois child support laws will apply to your case. Well-meaning friends or relatives may try to give you advice about child support or help you estimate your payments. However, the way that Illinois calculates child support changed significantly in recent years. The best way to receive trustworthy guidance regarding child support is to work with an experienced family law attorney. 

Illinois no longer bases child support on only the paying spouse’s income and the number of children to be supported. Now, both parents’ incomes determine child support payments.

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