Child Support Attorney
in Edwardsville, Illinois
When you go through a divorce as a parent, you know that it’s not just your life that will change but your child’s as well. Just one of the many difficult decisions you’ll have to make is how you’ll split custody with your spouse and whether child support will be needed. For help with this or any other aspect of family law and divorce, contact us at Hawkins Law Office, P.C. We’re located in Edwardsville, Illinois, but can serve clients throughout the area, including Belleville, Carlinville, Jerseyville, Vandalia, Hillsboro, and Greenville.
At Hawkins Law Office, you’ll have a trusted partner who’s committed to working toward a brighter future for everyone involved.
Understanding Child Support in Illinois
Determining a fair child support arrangement when you divorce is one of the most important things you can do. This ensures that no matter what custody arrangement you’ve agreed on, your child will always have the financial resources they need to thrive and feel supported.
In Illinois, both parents are legally obligated to support their children whether they’re married or not. So after a divorce, the parents must come to an agreement about how they will continue to financially support their children.
The state has set out a formula that weighs the incomes of both parents to come up with a minimum amount of support owed, but if both parents come to an agreement and a judge agrees that it meets the needs of the child, it will generally be approved.
If the parents wish to use the state’s formula, their net incomes will be determined (meaning all their income is counted, both earned and unearned) and standard deductions will be taken away for expenses like healthcare, taxes, medical expenses, or union dues. The state then uses this number in relation to how much time the child spends with each parent to determine their share of support.
If the parents cannot agree or would like help to calculate the amount needed, they can turn to the state’s formula. However, there are several factors that can affect this number that a judge may consider when making adjustments to this base amount. For example, a judge will look at the specific educational, medical, and physical needs of the child, the child’s standard of living if the parents had stayed together, and the available financial resources of both parents.
Unfortunately, some parents will attempt to skirt these guidelines by deliberately staying unemployed or underemployed in an attempt to lower their child support obligation. If this is discovered, a judge will impute an income for the parent, meaning they will assign them an income that’s fair and reasonable based on a previous job or on local job opportunities.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
It’s almost always necessary to request a child support modification at some point in your child’s life. In general, child support orders can be reviewed every three years or when there’s been a significant change in the life of the parent or child. This can be done simply by submitting new amounts to a judge if both parents agree, but it can also be accomplished if one parent feels a change is needed but the other doesn’t. Modifications will generally be approved if the parent can show a substantial change in their circumstances, such as gaining or losing a job that affects their income or if the child has a change in their healthcare needs.
Either parent can submit a request to the court for a modification, but if you feel it will be contentious you may wish to hire a family law attorney to help with your petition. The court will need to examine evidence and review employment statuses and incomes, and an experienced attorney can help increase the chances of approval.
Termination of Child Support
A parent’s obligation to pay child support usually ends when the child turns 18 unless they’re still in high school, in which case it can be extended until they turn 19. In other circumstances, you may be obligated to keep paying if your child has special needs such as a disability or if they cannot support themselves on their own.
In general, it’s very hard to seek termination of child support before this time without a material reason such as contested paternity. In these cases, a parent can file a motion to terminate child support. Child support can only be terminated by court order, and you should never make changes to the existing order on your own.
Child Support Attorney
Serving Edwardsville, Illinois
If you’re looking for a child support lawyer in the Edwardsville, Illinois, area who will take the time to listen to your concerns, collaborate with you every step of the way, and advocate for the best interests of your family, call us today. At Hawkins Law Office, P.C., you’ll have a trusted partner in all your family law needs and someone who’s committed to working towards a brighter future for everyone involved.