If you are getting a divorce or having a baby while you are not married, parenting responsibilities (custody), parenting time (visitation), and child support probably weigh heavily on your mind. You may be worried about having your child full time, while the other parent is worried about how much support he or she must pay each month. Both of you want what is best for your child, but that does not mean you agree on what that is. When you need to arrange parenting time, responsibilities, and support, call the experienced family law attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates at 630-961-0060 for help understanding Illinois’ new law and your options. It is possible for child support issues to be handled quickly and fairly.
Understanding the New Vocabulary
People have spent years hearing the terms custody, visitation, and child support. These terms and ideas are how parents automatically think of their future situation. But in the newest Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the state purposefully chose new vocabulary to change the way parents think about their family arrangement. Illinois wants parents to work as a team, dividing responsibilities and time in a way that is best for their children.
What people thought of as legal custody – who had the ability to make decisions for the child – is now parental responsibilities, and what used to be called visitation is now parenting time. The terminology for child support remains much the same.
These terms and concepts are important to keep in mind as you move forward with your child support case.
750 ILCS 5/505: Child Support
You may not recognize the statute but it is the part of the Act that discusses child support. Illinois law states the court can order one or both parents to pay reasonable and necessary support. The purpose of this obligation is to help with the educational, physical, mental, and emotional health of the children. The court will not look at adultery or similar issues in determining whether support is due and how much.
Who is the Supporting Parent?
The parent who is required to pay child support is known as the supporting party or parent. The supporting parent is determined when the parents come to an agreement or the court determines parenting responsibilities and time. Decision-making power and time with the children can be divided between the parents in a number of ways, such as concentrating responsibilities and time with one parent or dividing it more evenly. Responsibilities and time do not have to be allocated similarly. For example, one parent may retain all decision-making responsibilities but both parents have time with the children. In most circumstances, the person with the lesser amount of time and responsibilities pays support to the parent with the greater amount of time and responsibilities.
How Much Will the Support Be?
The minimum amount of support due is laid out in the statute:
|Number of Children||Percent of Supporting Party’s Net Income|
|6 or more||50%|
The judge will only deviate from these percentages if it is appropriate and in the best interest of the children. If you believe you will be the supporting parent but feel you need a lower obligation, speak with an experienced attorney about how you can approach the court about this and the evidence you will need to prove your circumstances.
What is Net Income?
Under the law, a parent’s net income includes income from all sources with certain specific exceptions:
- Federal and state income tax
- Social Security/FICA payments
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Union dues
- Court-ordered health or life insurance premiums
- Previous court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance obligations
- Foster care payments
- Expenditures for certain debts that were reasonable and necessary
If the paying parent is an independent contractor or currently receives disability or workers’ compensation benefits, he or she should speak with an attorney about how his or her net income will be determined by the court.
A Naperville Child Support Lawyer Can Help
Whether you are asking for child support or you are the supporting parent, you probably have questions or concerns about the court process. Do not jump to your worst fears or conclusions about your future situation. Instead, call the attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates at 630-961-0060 to learn more about Illinois law and your rights. Each family’s situation is unique, and we will aggressively fight for what is truly best for you and your children.