Wheaton, IL Child Support Attorneys
Child Support Lawyers in DuPage County
Parents have a legal obligation, and an underlying desire, to financially support their children. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides guidelines for determining the amount of child support payments, which are typically paid by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent. Although the judge has the discretion to deviate from the guidelines in some circumstances, the law basically ensures consistent and predictable results in a wide range of circumstances. A child support obligation can be discharged in almost any fashion that is mutually agreeable between the parents, and it can be reduced or increased as circumstances change.
At The Law Office of Judith Jenz, we strive to use a combination of prior court cases and existing statute law to craft a plan that is both in the best interest of the children, and protective of your financial and legal interests. Although attorney Judith Jenz routinely handles child support matters, your case will always get the personal attention that it deserves.
Changes to Child Support Laws in 2017
In July 2017, a revision of the child support guidelines in the IMDMA went into effect. Before this revision, Illinois was a percentage-of-income state, which meant that a parent paying child support would provide a fixed percentage of their income according to the number of children. Following the implementation of the new law, Illinois is now a shared-income state, and child support is determined based on both parents' incomes.
Under the income-sharing model, courts will use tables developed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to determine a Basic Support Obligation for a couple's children, which is the amount that the parents would typically spend to care for their children if they had remained married. This amount is based on the combined net income of both parents and the number of children being supported. Each parent will be responsible to provide a portion of the Basic Support Obligation based on the percentage share that they contribute to the combined income.
The amount of parenting time that parents have with their children may also affect the amount of child support payments. When children stay overnight with each parent for at least 40% of the time each year (that is, 146 days or more), additional calculations will be performed to determine both parents' Shared Physical Care Support Obligation based on each parent's percentage of overnights.
A court may enter both temporary and permanent child support orders. In most cases, the judge enters temporary orders a few weeks after the petition is filed and permanent orders when the divorce is finalized. The judge can deviate from the guidelines based on:
- The financial needs and/or resources of the parents and children;
- Any child's special needs; and
- The standard of living the children would have had if the parents had not divorced.
In addition to basic child support, a judge may order additional child support for extracurricular and educational activities, unreimbursed medical expenses, and childcare costs.
Payment and Modification
Most child support orders remit payments to the court or to a state disbursement unit, which then delivers the funds to the receiving parent. However, the judge typically accepts whatever agreement the parties propose; for example, they may load the funds on a prepaid debit card.
A support obligation typically ends when children turn 18. However, if the child attends college, the court may order the parents to split educational expenses. Most divorce orders, especially if the children are far from college age, include a reserve clause which states that this issue will be decided at a later date.
To modify a prior temporary or permanent order, the requesting party must show a substantial change in circumstances that was not anticipated when the prior order was issued. Generally speaking, courts are willing to modify orders based on an involuntary change of circumstances, such as a change in employment status.
At The Law Office of Judith Jenz, we routinely represent families in DuPage County and neighboring jurisdictions. For a confidential consultation, contact Judith Jenz today at 630-202-8842. After hours and weekend appointments are available.