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Joliet, IL child support lawyerChild support is a critical aspect of divorce and separation cases as it ensures the financial well-being of a child after her parents break up. Each state has its own set of guidelines for calculating child support, and in the state of Illinois, the “income shares method” is used. 

Understanding key aspects of this method is crucial for both parents. In this blog, we will delve into the most important things to know about the income shares method and how it affects child support calculations in Illinois. For matters relating to this important issue, contact an experienced family law attorney to be your guide through this process and other important parts of your divorce.

Definition and Purpose of the Income Shares Method 

The income shares method is designed to estimate the amount of money that would have been available to support a child if her parents had continued living together. It assumes that both parents share financial responsibilities for a child, and that their incomes should be combined and allocated to support the child’s needs after the divorce. Each parent pays their fair share of child support, depending on how much money they make. 

Elements Considered in the Calculation  

When determining child support using the income shares method, courts take into account several factors. This includes the pre-tax income of both parents, such as wages, salary, bonuses, pensions, and other sources of income. It also considers the costs of child health insurance, childcare, and education expenses. 

Shared Parenting

Illinois law recognizes the importance of shared parental responsibilities, and the income shares method reflects this. Child support calculations are influenced by the amount of time a child spends with each parent. The more time a parent is responsible for a child, the less likely they are to make significant child support payments. 

Pre-Existing Child Support Obligations 

If either parent already pays child support for children from a previous relationship, it affects calculations under the income-shares method. Any child support already being paid is taken into account when determining the child support obligations in a present case. 

Deviation from Guideline Amounts

While the income-shares method establishes a formula for child support calculations, courts have the authority to deviate from the guideline amounts under certain circumstances. These deviations may occur if special needs of the child exist, or if parents have shared custody of the child resulting in more equal financial responsibilities. 

Change in Financial Circumstances

The income-shares method takes into consideration that the financial circumstances of either parent may change over time. This means that child support orders can be modified, but only if a substantial change in circumstances is proven. 

Contact a Will County Family Law Attorney

To ensure your rights are respected, contact the Joliet family lawyers with Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.. Call 815-666-1285 for a free consultation. 

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Will County child support lawyersAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate currently hovers around 3.5 percent. The reasons for unemployment are as varied as the people who make up this statistic. Some people are still struggling to find employment after the pandemic, while others have been affected by the recent layoffs in the technology industry. Some individuals also choose not to work. They may decide to forgo employment in favor of child-raising or domestic duties, or for personal reasons.

Whatever the cause, unemployment can significantly impact a parent's ability to provide financial support to their child in the form of child support. If you are the payer or recipient of child support in Illinois, it is important to understand how unemployment can affect your child support order.

Intentional Unemployment

When it comes to child support, Illinois courts differentiate between intentional unemployment and unintentional unemployment. Intentional unemployment is when a parent voluntarily chooses to be unemployed or underemployed. Some parents do this solely in an effort to reduce their child support obligation. Intentional unemployment is frowned upon by Illinois courts, and if a court finds that a parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, they may impute or estimate the parent's income for the purpose of child support calculations. For example, if a parent used to make $100,000 a year and is now voluntarily unemployed, the court may use his or her previous income in the Income Shares calculation to determine his or her child support order.

A parent who is working “under the table” is likely to be considered intentionally unemployed. Working off the books is relatively common among those who do not want the “system” knowing how much they make.  

Unintentional Unemployment

On the other hand, unintentional unemployment is when a parent has been laid off or lost their job due to economic conditions, downsizing, or another reason beyond their control. Parents in this situation may be able to reduce their child support obligation through a petition for child support modification. A judge uses a number of factors to determine whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification, including the length of unemployment and the parent's effort to find new employment.

If you have any questions about how unemployment can affect your child support order in Illinois, it is best to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation.

Contact a Joliet Child Support Lawyer for Help

The Plainfield family law attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. assist with child support modifications, enforcement, and many other child-related family law issues. If you need to change your child support order or your spouse is not paying child support, we can help you take the necessary legal action. Call 815-666-1285 and set up a free consultation.



joliet divorce lawyerWhen parents decide to proceed with a divorce, many changes to the family occur. From dividing assets to child support, a divorce decree is set to ensure that both spouses continue their financial obligations to the family. Child support orders are set based on the financial health of both parents during the time of the marriage dissolution. However, finances, jobs, and spending habits change over the course of a person’s life. If a change in your financial situation has left you unable to afford your child support payments, you may be eligible to alter your child support order

Step 1: Find a Skilled Family Attorney 

Changing a child support order can be a difficult process. A divorce decree is a legally binding document, so a person cannot just hold off on making payments that align with a court order. When a person becomes unable to afford their child support, it is important to first reach out to a family attorney who can walk a parent through the process of petitioning for a change. A lawyer can help navigate the legal process of modifying child support in a timely and legally correct manner. 

Step 2: Prepare Your Financials 

If you are looking to petition for a change in child support and have found a trustworthy lawyer that you are prepared to work with, the next step is to prepare your financial documentation. The court will need to see proof of your financial change that resulted in an inability to afford payments. A lawyer can be handy during this process. Your lawyer will be able to help select the best documentation that represents your case and file it correctly during your petition. Were you fired from your job? Did you suffer from a recent salary cut? Do you have new expenses such as medical payments that prevent you from affording your child support? There must be documentation to show the situation at hand clearly. 

Step 3: File a Child Support Modification Petition 

You cannot simply stop paying child support if you cannot afford it. However, you may be able to modify the amount you are paying. To change a child support order in Illinois, you must file for a petition for child support modification through your county court. The court will review the documentation you have prepared, which may include:

  • Your past financial health

  • Your current salary

  • Changes in employment 

  • Changes in necessary payments for external circumstances (medical bills, debt)

Your attorney can help you proceed through the petitioning process and help grant you an alteration in your child support order. In the case that your petition is denied, an attorney may be able to continue fighting for you. 

Speak With a Joliet Child Support Lawyer 

At Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we understand that changes in financial situations occur during a person’s life. If you have recently experienced a drastic change that has left you unable to afford your court-ordered child support payments, our Joliet, Illinois family attorneys may be able to help you. To schedule a free consultation with us today, call 815-666-1285




How Does Parenting Time Influence Child Support in Joliet?

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plainfield divorce lawyerParents who divorce or who are not married when the child is born are often subject to court orders, including child custody orders and child support orders. Presently, Illinois law does not use the term child custody or visitation. Instead, the law describes parenting duties in terms of “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Parenting time is the amount of time the parent spends caring for the child. If you are a divorced or unmarried parent, it is important to understand the relationship between parenting time and child support.

Are Child Support Payments Based on the Amount of Parenting Time?

Illinois child support payments are calculated using the Income Shares formula. Both parents’ incomes are used to determine the amount of financial support the child should receive. This amount is split between the parents based on their respective incomes. The parent with the least amount of parenting time pays his or her share of this financial support to the parent with the most parenting time.

The amount of parenting time a parent is responsible for does not typically influence child support payments. However, there is one exception: If both parents have 40 percent or more of the parenting time, this is a “shared parenting” arrangement. In a shared parenting situation, the amount of child support the paying parent pays is affected by how much parenting time each parent has.

Does a Parent Still Have to Pay Child Support if They Have No Parenting Time?

Some parents assume they can forgo child support payments if they do not have any parenting time with the child. To be clear, child support obligations are completely separate from custody or parenting time decisions. A parent must pay child support even if they are denied parenting time by the court. Failure to pay child support is considered a serious offense punishable by property liens, wage garnishment, and in extreme cases, jail time.

Furthermore, a parent may not withhold parenting time from a parent who has court-ordered parenting time because that parent did not pay child support. For example, if a father has parenting time with the children on the weekends, the mother cannot keep the child during the weekends as a “punishment” for the father’s failure to pay child support. Doing this violates a court order and may result in significant consequences.  

Contact a Joliet Family Law Attorney

The Plainfield family lawyers at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help you establish, modify, or enforce child-related court orders, including parenting time orders and child support orders. Call us at 815-666-1285 for a free, confidential case assessment.


What Expenses Are Included in Child Support in Illinois?

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Joliet divorce attorney for Child SupportParents are expected to financially support their children and provide for their needs. When parents are married or living together, they will usually combine their finances to cover all of their household expenses and any other costs involved in raising their children. However, the issue of financial support becomes more complicated when parents get divorced or split up. In these cases, child support orders will need to be established to ensure that both parents will contribute toward their children’s needs. Parents will want to understand what expenses are covered by child support and whether they will need to address any other costs related to raising their children.

Basic Child Support Obligations and Additional Expenses

In family law cases involving the custody of children, child support obligations will be calculated based on the total income earned by both parents. This is known as a “basic child support obligation,” and it is meant to represent the amount that a couple would have spent to cover their children’s needs if they were still married or living together. The total amount of this obligation will be allocated between the parents based on their individual income levels. In cases where parents divide parenting time equally or when children spend near-equal amounts of time in each parent’s home, additional calculations may be performed to ensure that the parents’ financial obligations address the percentage of time children live with each parent.

As the name implies, the basic child support obligation is meant to address children’s daily needs and cover expenses such as groceries, housing, utilities, and clothing. However, there are several other types of expenses that parents will usually need to address, and these expenses may be added to the parents’ child support obligations. These may include:

  • Child care - Children may attend daycare while parents are working, or other forms of child care may be used, such as a nanny or babysitter. Any child care costs that are necessary due to a parent’s employment may be divided between the parents.

  • Healthcare - Parents will generally be required to ensure that children are covered by health, dental, and vision insurance, and they will usually divide the costs of monthly health insurance premiums needed to maintain this coverage. Parents may also need to divide other medical expenses, including co-pays, medications, orthodontic care, therapy or psychological treatment, and any extraordinary needs for children with physical or mental disabilities.

  • Educational expenses - Parents will usually be required to share the costs of school fees, private school tuition, tutoring, and any other expenses related to children’s education.

  • Other expenses - Children may participate in activities such as sports, music lessons, dance classes, gymnastics, or scouting, and parents may divide the fees for these activities and the costs of equipment or transportation. Any regular expenses that do not fall into the categories described above may also need to be addressed, and parents may agree on how to share these costs.

Contact Our Will County Child Support Lawyers

During your divorce or child custody case, the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you make sure child support will be addressed correctly. We will advise you on what expenses you will need to consider, and we will help you make sure your child support order will fully address your children’s needs. To set up a free consultation, contact our Joliet child support attorneys at 815-666-1285.


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