Child Support and Support Modifications
Law Offices of Michael F Roe can assist and counsel our clients with the following child support and financial issues:
- Child support calculations
- Income valuation and imputation issues, to ensure the payor is providing fair and accurate financial information.
- Job diary orders, so payment of child support can continue
- Employment evaluations to make sure payments are equitable
- Income determination if there are concerns about the child support amount being paid
- Child support modification when one or the other party experiences a change in circumstances.
Child support is the money one spouse must pay to the spouse with primary residential custody to assist with the everyday needs of the minor children of the marriage. In the 1980s, federal laws were passed ordering states like Illinois to establish guidelines for determining the base amount of child support.
Today, the Illinois Legislature has established a statutory plan for child support factoring in things such as parent net income and the number of children.
The guidelines apply equally to children born to married parents and to children born out of wedlock (parentage cases).
Illinois child support law has traditionally been calculated by taking the payor’s net income, and applying percentages based on the number of children that the parties have. The guidelines formerly required that from net income, a parent would pay twenty percent for one child; twenty-eight percent for two children; and so on with increasing amounts.
New Illinois Child Support Law
Under the new law, both parents’ incomes are considered when calculating support along with a calculation of the number of overnights that the parent has with the child(ren):
Under Illinois’ income-shares model, the courts consider that the typical costs to raise a child for a family should resemble the income level that would have been in place had the parents involved in each case stayed together.
Accordingly, if each parent is working and earning income, both sets of income are added together to arrive at the amount necessary to raise the child(ren). In considering the costs of raising a child or children, Illinois courts will take into account the cost of housing, clothes, food, transportation, ordinary uncovered medical expenses, ordinary extracurricular activities, entertainment and education. Judges are also free to consider any other extraordinary circumstances in setting support.
Generally, the amount of child support is determined by a standardized income table as well as the number of children born to the parties, the incomes of both parents, and the allocation of parenting time. Child support obligations will depend, in part, on how much each parent contributed to the combined household income while married, and the courts will also factor in how much time each parent can and wants to spend with the child in deciding how much each parent owes.
Child Support in Illinois : the Best Interest of the Child
Illinois courts will sometimes enter orders that vary from the state statutory requirements if the court finds a variation in the strict formula to be in the best interest of the child(ren). The court will use several factors to determine the best interest of the child, including:
- the financial needs of the child,
- the financial responsibilities of both parents,
- the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child,
- and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents not divorced.
Once an order of child support is entered, the order may only be modified if a court finds that a change in circumstances warrants a modification.
Child support modifications — A parent may have changed jobs, leading to less income available to meet existing support awards. Some examples of changed circumstances that may warrant a motion to modify child support are:
- A change in one/both parents’ income
- A parent’s loss of their job
- A parent’s imprisonment (subject to some exceptions)
- A parent has a child from another relationship
- There has been a modification in a parents’ parenting order
- There has been a change in the child’s financial needs regarding education, extracurriculars, child care, or health care
- Changes in the factors used in child support calculations under state law.
Michael Roe can help you through this difficult time. If you would like help determining what the court might order for support, please contact our office. We use the same software that the courts use to determine the guideline support amounts, and would be happy to crunch some numbers for you. Call us at (331) 222-9161 or contact us online.