Raising your children is expensive. Parents must provide money for everything from food and clothing to education and entertainment. If the parents of the children live together, whether married or not, the law will assume that both parents are contributing equally to the financial support of the child.

This assumption plays a major role in all cases for child support. Because the law assumes an equal contribution towards your children, it will require both parents to provide support after a separation. For the parent with less parenting time (previously called the non-custodial parent), this typically includes payment of child support.

A Frankfort lawyer could help you to establish necessary child support orders needed to care for your children. If you already have a child support order that needs to be modified, an experienced divorce attorney with Reidy Law Office LLC could help to modify your existing order if circumstances have changed.

The Legal Basis for Child Support

Illinois child support law is in 750 ILCS 5/505. This statute states that family courts have the authority to hear cases regarding child support as a portion of any other case dealing with the end of a marriage or civil union. In addition, the court can order the payment of support “when necessary” for the needs of the child.

When possible, the goal of the statute says that the child’s standard of living should remain the same as if the marriage or civil union never came to an end. This means that support may be necessary to pay for housing, provide clothing, maintain an education, and allow them to participate in activities. The same logic is applied to non-married persons. Even though the parties were not married, courts try to avoid large disparities in lifestyles between the two homes.

Typically, a court will require the parent who has fewer overnights in a year to provide child support to the parent with the majority of the overnights with your children. The idea is that the non-custodial parent will not need to directly pay for as many necessities as the parent who cares for the child on a daily basis. This idea is flawed because it did not distinguish between a non-custodial parent who spent several overnights (even though less than the other parent) versus the non-custodial parent who had many overnights. Thus, the statute changed and tried to take into consideration the number of overnights of both parents in setting the amount of child support owed. The payment of cash support is intended to equalize the financial commitment to raising the child.

Calculating Support Payments in Frankfort

Generally, a non-custodial parent will be required to provide at least some level of support. However, the amount of payment will vary greatly on a case by case basis. The State’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides a helpful calculator that parents may use to estimate typical support amounts. Although, it is important to note that the court may adjust these amounts depending on the circumstances.

Factors that a court may consider when ordering a support payment include:

  • The relative incomes of both parents
  • Any deductions available to non-custodial parents such as other support orders
  • The terms of the custody agreement
  • Health care or child care needs
  • Whether either parent is unemployed or underemployed

In sum, the calculation of child support is not an exact science. Support is based upon the net incomes of both parties, which is difficult to accurately project every year. However, courts will follow general guidelines and rules to establish minimal support payments under state laws. One of our Frankfort lawyers could work with you to determine expected child support payments. We could also help if an established support order is no longer appropriate due to major changes in income, a parent getting remarried, a child reaching adulthood, or any other substantial change impacting your situation.

A Frankfort Lawyer Could Explain Child Support Agreements

Raising your children is the responsibility of both parents. This includes not just providing guidance and emotional support, but also financial payments. These payments are used for purchasing food, clothing, and shelter. Laws in Illinois assume that a non-custodial parent is responsible for providing a minimum support payment. However, the calculations for determining a final support amount are complex.

One of our lawyers with Reidy Law Office LLC could help you to establish a child support order that fits the needs of your children. Additionally, we can help make sure agreements are fair to both parents. Click here to learn more about your options.