Most of us work hard to be able to provide for our children and to ensure they have certain advantages in life. That may mean enrolling them in special activities or programs, making sure they have access to the latest technology, or simply providing them with a wealth of experiences to stimulate their interests. On top of the everyday costs of feeding, clothing, and providing a home, the financial aspects of raising a child can easily get overwhelming, particularly if you are divorced or are raising a child as a single parent. While child support is a crucial element in being able to provide the tangible and intangible items every child needs, getting and enforcing a reasonable child support order is often difficult. It is vitally important for parents to be aware of how the court determines child support amounts, how you can enforce a child support order, and how we may be able to help you get the amount of child support you pay or receive changed to more accurately reflect your circumstances.
Parents have a legal duty to support their children and for couples going through a divorce, the court enforces this duty through the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This duty obligates the parents to contribute to the costs associated with the care, wellbeing and development of their child, costs which include educational, medical, and recreation needs, in addition to the costs of providing food, clothing, and shelter. Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes (750 ILCS 5/505), this applies to children under the age of 18, or those under 19 who are still attending high school. In terms of the amount of support a parent is obligated to pay, the following are minimum amounts according to court guidelines:
The court may deviate from these guidelines based on the financial needs of the child and their accustomed standard of living, as well as based on the financial needs and resources of the parents.
Once a child support order is issued, it may later be determined that the financial circumstances of the supporting parent have changed, or that they were less than honest in terms of reporting their total amount of income to the court in the first place. In these cases, our experienced child support attorney can help you in seeking a modification order. This includes not only presenting new evidence to the court of a change in the supporting parent’s circumstances, but also find evidence of this change in finances. Often, this involves subpoenaing tax records, obtaining statements from employers, and tracking purchases and expenditures to prove there is income that is not being reported.
While the existence of a court order and the threat of being held in contempt of court is enough to get most people to pay, there are always cases in which a parent ignores the order and continues to refuse to pay support. Under Illinois law, parents who fail to provide court ordered support may be subject to income withholding and wage garnishment, as well as facing penalties under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act (750 ILCS 16/). These penalties may include the following:
If you are not receiving the amount of child support your child is entitled to, contact Sabuco Beck, P.C. today. Our experienced Will County family law attorneys provide aggressive legal representation you can trust to help you get an order for support, or to help you modify or enforce an existing order.
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