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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:

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UPDATE: Do We Need to Separate Before Filing for Divorce?

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separation, Will County divorce attorney

Originally published: July 6, 2016 -- Updated: September 10, 2021

UPDATE: As described below, Illinois law no longer requires a couple to separate before they can complete their divorce. However, many couples choose to separate before or during the divorce process. In some cases, spouses may use a “trial separation” to help them decide whether they should move forward with the dissolution of their marriage. In other cases, one spouse may decide to move out of the family home after filing for divorce. 

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Joliet divorce attorney for asset divisionDuring the divorce process, spouses will need to make many different decisions about how to handle financial issues. Many of these issues will involve the division of marital property, and spouses may be required to make sacrifices or adjustments as they determine how to ensure that they will have the financial resources needed to support themselves after their divorce is complete. Ownership of a couple’s marital home is one issue that can sometimes be difficult to resolve, especially when both spouses have an emotional connection to the home or when parents want their children to continue living in the same community. By understanding their options, spouses can make decisions that will benefit them moving forward and ensure that they will be able to maintain financial success.

Options When Addressing Real Estate Ownership

In many cases, selling the marital home during the divorce process is the best option for a couple. This will avoid any disputes about who will get to live in the home that a couple once shared, and the profits earned from the sale of the home can be divided between the spouses, providing them with financial resources that will help them establish their own individual living arrangements. However, when selling a home, spouses will want to be aware of any capital gains taxes that may apply, as well as any other issues that may result in financial losses.

If one spouse wishes to continue living in the home, they will usually need to determine how they will be able to “buy out” the other spouse’s share of the home’s equity. The other spouse may receive a larger share of other marital assets, or a monetary payment may be arranged, either as a lump sum or an ongoing payment plan. The home will need to be refinanced with one spouse as the sole borrower, and the other spouse will need to be removed from the home’s title and deed. While owning the home may be preferable for one spouse, they will need to be sure they will be able to afford ongoing mortgage payments, as well as other expenses, including utilities, maintenance, insurance, and property taxes.

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Joliet divorce attorney for parental relocationParents and children are likely to experience changes in their lives in the years after the completion of a divorce. Some of the most significant of these changes involve a parent moving to a new home. When a parent plans to move, they may be unsure about whether this will require changes to the parenting plan that details how they share child custody and parenting time with the other parent. They will also need to understand the legal requirements that they will need to meet to ensure that they are in compliance with the court’s orders. By working with a family law attorney, a parent can make sure they follow the correct procedures, and they can request modifications to their parenting plan to address the changes in their lives. 

Illinois Parental Relocation Cases

A parent’s requirements when planning to move will depend on where they currently live, the distance they are planning to move, and the percentage of parenting time they have with their children. Parents who have the majority of parenting time or who divide parenting time equally with the other parent will need to receive permission from the court if they will be moving a certain distance away from their current home. For parents who currently live in Will County and the surrounding counties in the greater Chicago area, a move to a location that is more than 25 miles away from their current home is considered to be a parental relocation. 

At least 60 days before the date they plan to move, a parent is required to inform the other parent in writing, letting them know the date of the move, the address of the new home, and, if the move will be temporary, the amount of time they will be living at the new location. If there is no disagreement about the move, the other parent may sign the notice, and the notice will be filed in court. After a judge reviews any agreed modifications to the couple’s parenting plan to ensure that they will protect the best interests of the couple’s children, the relocation will be approved.

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How Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work?

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Joliet divorce mediation attorneyEven though divorce is common, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Movies and TV shows can make the breakup of marriage seem very dramatic, with couples and their attorneys fighting legal battles in courtroom trials. In reality, most divorces are handled outside of the courtroom, and while spouses may be represented by attorneys, they usually work to reach a settlement, and they may only attend court to finalize the divorce process. In many cases, the best way to complete the divorce process quickly, efficiently, and effectively is through mediation.

Understanding the Mediation Process

When a couple uses mediation, they will agree to work together to create a divorce settlement that they can both agree on. They will do so with the help of a mediator, and while the mediator may be an attorney, they will not represent either party. Instead, the mediator is a neutral advisor who helps facilitate discussions while suggesting possible solutions and making sure the spouses address all outstanding issues.

Mediation usually takes place over several sessions which may last one or more hours. During these sessions, the spouses will identify the issues that need to be addressed and resolved, and they will work together to reach agreements. Matters that may be discussed may include:

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