Divorced and unmarried parents still need to provide financial support to their children. In Illinois, this is accomplished through child support payments. Many parents are confused about their child support rights and responsibilities in Illinois. They do not know how much payments will be or who will receive payments. Parents also have questions about what to do when a parent is not paying child support. Whether you are unmarried, divorced, or intend to divorce soon, it is important to understand how child support is handled in Illinois.
Calculating the Amount of Support
Divorcing spouses are able to reach their own agreements about divorce issues like property division or child custody. However, child support is always decided by the court. The amount that a parent pays is based on a mathematical formula that takes both parents’ financial circumstances into account. The parent with less parenting time (previously called visitation) pays child support to the parent with greater parenting time. Courts can deviate from the child support formula in certain situations, including with one or both parents have an exceptionally high income.
Getting a Child Support Order
Many single parents struggle to make ends meet because the other parent is not helping them pay for child-related expenses. If you want to receive child support from your child’s other parent, you can enroll through the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Department of Child Support Services. If you are a mother seeking child support from a father, you will need to establish paternity before you can request child support from him.
Modifying an Existing Child Support Order
Life is full of unexpected changes. If either parent’s financial situation changes substantially, they may be able to request a child support modification. The court may increase or decrease the child support obligation or deny the request for modification and keep it the same. Parents may also need to request a modification if the child’s needs change significantly. For example, if a child requires special medical care or educational services, the child support obligation may be increased to help cover these costs.
Enforcing Child Support When a Parent Is Not Paying
Child support orders are legally binding. If a parent does not pay, he or she can face serious consequences, including fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. If your child’s other parent is not paying support, you may be able to seek enforcement through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Unfortunately, like many government organizations, the HFS is often backlogged with cases. Working with a family law attorney to enforce child support through the court system may yield faster results.
Contact a Cook County Child Support Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about child support, contact Chicago family law attorney Curtis Bennett Ross. Mr. Ross has over 30 years of experience practicing family law as well as experience as a mediator and Guardian Ad Litem. Call [[phone]] today for a free limited consultation.