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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyer for finances and employmentConcerns over the coronavirus have caused some businesses to close their doors. Unfortunately, this means that many people are now out of work. Some of these individuals are only temporarily laid off, while others may need to find new employment. Whether it is due to a layoff or termination, losing your job has the potential to dramatically influence divorce proceedings. Although divorce is typically thought of as the end of a romantic relationship, it is also the end of a financial relationship. Losing your main source of income will likely impact issues such as property division, child support, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other aspects of your divorce.

The Reason for the Job Loss Matters

When deciding on financial matters in a divorce case, a judge will consider both spouses’ financial circumstances. This includes the spouses’ income, assets, employability, and other factors. If either spouse has recently lost his or her job, the judge will want to know about the circumstances that led to the job loss. A judge is much more likely to be sympathetic when the job loss was the result of widespread layoffs or a person was otherwise not at fault for losing his or her job. However, if a spouse has lost his or her job because he or she quit or was fired for misconduct, the judge will be much less sympathetic.

Financial Consequences During Divorce Proceedings

In Illinois, a higher-earning spouse may be required to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance. If you have lost your job, but the loss was not your fault, it is possible that you will qualify for a reduced child support or spousal maintenance obligation. Most likely, if you show that you are sincerely working at becoming employed, you will be granted reduced payments until you can regain employment. However, if the job loss was your fault, you may be held to the same level of financial responsibility as you would be if you still had your job. Divorcing spouses who are negotiating a special financial agreement due to an unexpected job loss may find that mediation or collaborative law allows them to work out an arrangement without the need for court litigation.

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DuPage County paternity attorneyUnmarried couples who have a child together face a significantly different set of challenges than married couples with children. When a mother who is married gives birth, her husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s father. However, when an unmarried mother gives birth, this presumption does not exist. The father will need to take steps to establish his legal relationship to the child, called establishing paternity. There are numerous benefits to establishing paternity for both the parents and the child. Read on to learn about these advantages and the steps that must be followed to establish paternity in Illinois.

Children Gain Many Valuable Resources When Paternity Is Established

Until the legal relationship between a child and father is confirmed, the child is not eligible for a number of important benefits. Once paternity has been established, the child will have advantages such as:

  • Inheritance rights

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Wheaton child support modification lawyerAccording to Illinois law, both of a child’s parents must financially contribute to their child’s upbringing – even if the parents are unmarried or divorced. Illinois child support payment amounts are calculated using the “income shares” method. This method uses each parent’s net income and the amount of parenting time assigned to each parent to determine an appropriate child support order. If a parent wants to change the terms of the child support order, he or she will need to petition the court for a child support modification.   

Modification Reviews Through DCSS

Child support orders are eligible for a “modification review” every three years. The Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will notify parents of their right to request a review of their current child support order. When a parent requests a review through DCSS, each parent will be asked to submit financial documentation which will be used to determine whether a modification is necessary.  

Substantial Changes in Circumstances

If it has not yet been three years since the end of a couple’s divorce or the last time a child support modification review was conducted, parents will typically only be able to request a modification if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The following situations may qualify for a modification:

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Wheaton divorce lawyer for child support enforcement and modificationChild support is intended to help unmarried or divorced parents share the cost of raising a child. Illinois takes child support orders very seriously. When a child support order is entered by the court, the payments are not optional. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, you can face serious penalties, which may include criminal charges. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to request a modification from the court.

Consequences of Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois

In Illinois, child support enforcement is managed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' (DHFS) Division of Child Support. Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, the DHFS monitors child support payments and ensures that child support orders are being followed. When a recipient parent is not receiving court-ordered child support payments, he or she may contact the DHFS for help. Once the DHFS is aware of the problem, the agency will take steps to collect the unpaid child support. If the non-paying parent is receiving public assistance, the DHFS can take funds directly from the parent’s public assistance benefits.

If you fail to pay child support, your wages may be garnished. This means money will be taken directly out of your paycheck. In addition, your tax returns may be intercepted, or your bank account may be seized. If you are more than 90 days behind on your child support, your driver’s license or any professional licenses that you have can be suspended. If you owe more than $5,000 of past-due child support, or if you have not paid in six months or more, you may even be charged with a criminal offense.

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DuPage County child support attorney income shares

If you are a parent considering divorce, you may wonder how the state calculates child support payments. Which parent receives the support payments? How is child support related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time? Illinois uses an “income shares” method to formulate child support orders which are reasonable and appropriate for the financial circumstances of both parents. Read on to learn about the most important elements of Illinois child support orders and what you can do if you need to establish or modify child support in Illinois.

Illinois Recently Changed the Way it Determines Child Support

Significant changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in July 2017. Before the changes, child support was determined by applying a certain percentage to the paying parent’s net income based on the number of children needing support. For example, a parent with one minor child paid 20 percent of his or her income, and a parent with two children paid 28 percent of his or her income in child support. Child support orders that went into effect before the changes to the IMDMA may still be based on the old calculation method. However, child support orders may be eligible for modification if they meet certain criteria.

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