When it comes to divorce, people tend to have many questions—and rightfully so. Divorce is a critical decision that should not be taken lightly. While the emotional aspects of divorce can be challenging, it is essential not to lose track of the financial components often involved.
One important consideration for couples with children is child support. A child support arrangement is a crucial component of meeting a child’s needs. It can also significantly impact a family’s finances, both for the parent receiving payments and the parent obligated to make such payments.
Understanding how child support orders might affect you during and after your divorce is an essential first step in preparing for the challenges inherent in a divorce. A Will County child support lawyer at Reidy Law Office could help you understand the importance of child support and your rights in the divorce process. Our attorneys are experienced in family law cases and can help guide you through your child support situation and advocate on your behalf during child support proceedings.
One of the first steps towards understanding how child support payments may affect you financially is estimating your potential child support payment obligations. Illinois’ new child support law—enacted in 2017—makes child support obligations dependent on the combined net income of both parents. This is known as an income-sharing approach.
In accordance with the income-sharing child support guidelines, courts will look at both parents’ combined net income—or income after taxes—in determining support. Illinois law defines net income and lists several potential deductions besides tax obligations, including other mandated child support amounts that an individual may be making.
Once the net income is determined, the Illinois child support schedule assumes that 20% of that income would have been spent on a child if both parents remained together. An individual spouse’s financial responsibility for child support is based on the percentage of the combined net income they provide.
For instance, if the combined net income for you and your partner is $100,000, your annual child support obligation would be $20,000. If each parent is responsible for the same percentage of net income, then you would be equally responsible for that $20,000. This means whichever partner is required to make child support payments may need to make payments that total $10,000 annually.
Understandably, courts take child support issues very seriously. Unexpected circumstances, such as involuntary job loss, may be grounds for a spouse or ex-spouse to seek a modification of the child support obligation. However, voluntarily lowering income by quitting a job may not lower monthly obligations, as it is sometimes possible to impute earning potential into the net income formula.
Likewise, hiding assets used to determine personal net income can result in severe consequences such as wage garnishment or even seizure of assets. There are also tools and services available to assist in collecting delinquent child support payments, which can begin years after a parent takes on a child support order.
There are many important considerations to consider when it comes to child support. While the state follows a specific formula in many cases, there are exceptions and special circumstances to consider. Our family law firm is experienced in Will County child support matters, and we can help you understand what factors determine child support payments and what those payments might mean for you.
If you have questions about child support law and other financial considerations related to your divorce, call Reidy Law Office. Our family law office can help you navigate the divorce process more confidently and productively.