I represent clients out of offices in Chicago and Wheaton, in cases throughout Cook and DuPage Counties, in setting child support, child support enforcement, modification (increase/decrease), and related issues, including post-high school/college expense contributions, uninsured medical expenses, extracurricular expenses and support for disabled adult children.
Child Support Basics
Each parent has a legal obligation to financially support the child. That obligation lasts until the child reaches “the age of majority”, in Illinois, 18, unless the child is still attending high school, in which case until the she/he graduates, but in not past the age of 19. Child support can be terminated early if the child marries, joins the military, or becomes self-supporting.
In Illinois child support is set using a statutory formula. Whatever approach is used, courts look at a variety of sources to determine each parent’s income and ability to pay. Income may include wages and the following items:
- Gains from investments and pension payments
- Government payments and benefits like disability, social security, veteran unemployment payments
- Goods, services & other benefits from work or from family members, friends or new spouses
- Gifts and inheritances
- Rents from rental property
- Overtime, seasonal, or part-time second jobs
People who receive welfare payments or who are unemployed without wages will usually be ordered to make a small contribution. A court may impute an income different that what a parent appears to be earning if the Judge believes the parent is capable of higher earnings.
Child Support Amount
Typically, the Court applies the statutory formula. The formula takes into account both parents’ incomes and number of overnights the children spend with each parent, and relies upon the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ determination of the cost of raising a child.
An estimator for child support can be found here.
Enforcement of Child Support
Once child support is ordered, it can be enforced through a variety of measures. The most common is a petition seeking to hold the non-paying parent in contempt (Petition for Rule to Show Cause). If the failure to pay is willful, the parent can be sentenced to jail until/unless she/he purges her/his contempt by paying a certain amount toward the back child support (arrearage). Other enforcement tools include garnishing assets/income, taking tax refunds, suspending driver’s and other licenses.
Modification of Child Support
Typically, child support can be modified (upward or downward) upon showing a substantial change in circumstances. Such changes include a substantial increase/decrease in the paying parent’s income and substantial increase in the child’s expenses.
Additional Support for Children
In addition to child support, the following can be required:
- Uninsured medical expenses. Child’s medical expenses not covered by insurance are often split based on parties’ incomes.
- Medical insurance premiums. The party paying child support often provides for the child’s medical insurance, but the cost is shared
- Daycare expenses. Daycare necessitated by work is often split based on parties’ incomes.
- Post-high school expenses. Assuming the child has the aptitude and desire to attend a post-high school educational institution such as a community college, university, technical school, the parents and child can be ordered to contribute based upon their abilities.
- Disabled adult child expenses. Parents may have to continue to pay child support for an adult child that is unable to provide for him/herself.
A Strong, Reliable and Convenient Ally In Your Corner
I have offices in DuPage County and downtown Chicago. I make myself available to my clients and I respond to calls and e-mails same day whenever possible, but nearly always within one business day. I do not accept cases I do not intend on handling attentively and well. My aim is to do the worrying for you so you can go on with your life. Please contact me to learn more. It would also be helpful if you complete and submit the Family Law Questionnaire.