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What Impacts My Child Support Payments in Illinois?

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joliet child support lawyerIn any divorce involving children, each parent’s financial support for the child’s needs will be a significant factor in the proceedings. To ensure fairness, Illinois uses the income shares method to determine a parent’s level of child support. It is based on a proportion of the parents’ combined net income. Our attorneys have experience in child support cases and can determine the appropriate levels that you and your spouse should be expected to contribute to your child’s daily and long-term needs.

Factors in Income Shares Method

The basis of the income shares method is the combined net income of both parents. In cases of unemployment or underemployment for one or both spouses, the court can estimate their potential income and use that amount as the basis for the rest of the calculations. To determine the level of basic support that the child or children need, the court will include the costs of food, clothing, education, transportation, medical costs, personal care needs, and other daily expenses. The basic support amount will then be correlated to a monthly cost based on the parent’s net income using a formula developed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Each parent will contribute to the monthly basic support expenses based on their proportion of the combined net income. The greater a parent’s share of the combined income, the greater level of support a parent is expected to contribute. 

The parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support payments from the parent with less parenting time. The parent with the majority of parenting time is expected to make his or her share of the financial contributions by caring for the child and meeting the child’s daily needs. 

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plainfield paternity lawyerEstablishing paternity creates the legal father-child relationship. Confirming paternity is the first step in ensuring that a child will receive the financial support that they need through child support. It is also the first step in establishing the legal rights and responsibilities of the father. For unmarried couples in Illinois, paternity can be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. However, if this is not possible, paternity may be established through an Administrative Paternity Order or an Order of Paternity through the court system. If you are involved in a paternity case, as either the mother or the father, it is important to work with attorneys who can represent you and your case effectively. 

How a VAP works

A VAP is a legal document that establishes the paternity of the child of unmarried parents. It is available to be filled out at the hospital after a child is born and can be completed at the same time as the birth certificate. If the parents prefer to take the form home to read and then complete it, it must be filled out and signed in the presence of a witness who is at least 18 years old. It can be filed at any time after the child is born. 

Once a man signs the form, he is officially the child’s parent in the eyes of the law. The father may also be subject to a child support order. Both parents are responsible for providing for the child, including medical care and can be liable for child support payments if they later separate. In a case where you are not sure who the biological father is, you should not sign the VAP. Paternity in this case should be determined by genetic testing.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_75952243.jpgWhen considering marriage, it is essential to discuss all of the legal aspects of this new chapter in your life with your partner. While many marriages are blissful, there are times when couples decide to separate or divorce. In the case of a separation or divorce, having a prenuptial agreement will help the process move along peacefully, efficiently, and quickly compared to a divorce proceeding without a prenup. If you are preparing for marriage with your partner, begin by speaking with a skilled family attorney who can create a prenuptial agreement that is best for your relationship.

Why Prenuptial Agreements are Useful

Why draft a document in the case of a divorce if you are sure you are marrying your soulmate? Many people avoid prenups for this reason. However, they could wind up regretting it later in life. Couples may decide to divorce for many reasons, not simply because of mistreatment or lack of love. Often, couples will separate or divorce due to relocation, financial incompatibility, or even disagreements in parenting styles. Even if you are sure your future spouse is the one, it may be helpful to dictate how your assets would be divided if your relationship ended. Having a plan may even help reduce any friction that would cause bad blood between you and your partner during a roadblock in your marriage.  

What to Include in My Prenuptial Agreement 

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that lays out how assets and finances will be divided in the case of a divorce. In your prenup, it is a good idea to include:

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 illinois adoption lawyerThe process of adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a family’s life. The potential for adding to your family is both exciting and stressful, especially considering the many difficulties of navigating the adoption process. Due to the significance of adopting a child, the state and adoption agencies may require prospective adoptive families to undergo studies and tests to ensure that the adoptive child is the best fit for that family, including a home study on the family members. Here are some of the most common reasons a family may not pass the home study during an adoption. 

A Parent Has a Criminal History 

During the home study, adoption agencies are looking for parents who will be the best role models for their kids. Although a criminal history, including felony or misdemeanor convictions, is not always representative of who a person is, an adoption agency may feel that a parent with a criminal background is not the best fit for a child. As long as a parent is truthful regarding their background, most minor charges will not prevent them from adopting. However, adoption is usually prohibited for people with convictions for sex crimes involving a child or child abuse charges. 

Other Family Members in the Home 

The state and agencies consider all family members living in the home during the home study. This can include other children, aunts, uncles, nannies, or grandparents. It is important to take into account the entire dynamic of a home before another child is added into the equation. For example, if there are other children in the family that express an inability to accept an adoptive sibling, or if another person in the home has a criminal background, adoption agencies may feel it would be in the child’s best interest to be placed elsewhere. 

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Will County Family Law AttorneyWhen a parent-child relationship is officially established through birth or a paternity action, the parent gains parental rights. Among these rights are the right to seek parental responsibilities and parenting time. In some situations, these rights are terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Illinois courts consider the parent-child relationship to be one the most sacred relationships in a child’s life. Because all child-related family law decisions are made with the child’s best interests at heart, parental rights are only terminated in a narrow set of circumstances.

Giving Up Your Parental Rights Voluntarily

Voluntary termination of parental rights usually coincides with an adoption case. Children may only have two parents. If a stepparent, grandparent, or other adult wishes to adopt a child, the child’s parent may need to give up his or her parental rights to allow the adoption to proceed. Once parental rights are terminated, the parent loses the right to parenting time with the child. The parent is also absolved of his or her child support obligation.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights Due to Parental Unfitness

Parental rights may be terminated against a parent’s will if the parent is found to be “unfit.” This is considered a last resort. Parents are only declared unfit if it can be demonstrated that the parent having contact with the child is not in the child’s best interests. There must be ample evidence of a parent’s inability to care for the child and keep the child safe.

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