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When a married couple with children divorces, child support is typically ordered to help the parents share child-rearing costs. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder which parent will be the recipient and which parent will be the payor of child support. You may also want to know how much these child support payments will be. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the income shares model. Each parents’ income and other information is used to determine a child support payment amount that is fair, reasonable, and provides for the child’s needs.

Income Shares Model for Calculating Child Support

Prior to 2017, child support payments were calculated based solely on the paying spouse’s net income. Now, both parents’ net incomes are used to determine child support. Illinois adopted the Income Shares model for child support in order to hold both parents accountable for financially supporting their child. The new calculation method largely bases child support on the difference between the parents’ income. The closer the parents’ incomes are, the less the support payments will be.

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If you are getting divorced, you may wonder whether or not you will be able to receive spousal maintenance. Also called spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance refers to payments that a spouse makes to the other spouse after a divorce. Although women were traditionally the recipients of maintenance, spousal support laws apply the same to men as they do women. Spousal maintenance is typically ordered when there is a significant difference in the spouses’ financial circumstances or when a spouse sacrifices career or educational opportunities for the benefit of the household.

Factors Considered by Illinois Courts When Determining Spousal Support

There are two ways that a spouse may be considered eligible for spousal support. The first is when the couple have already made spousal support decisions through a prenuptial agreement. Unless there is a problem that invalidates the prenuptial agreement, the court will uphold the arrangements to which the spouses agreed.

The second way a spouse can receive spousal support is by petitioning the court for spousal support. Courts consider a range of factors when deciding whether or not spousal support is appropriate. These factors include but are not limited to:

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valuation, Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen you are going through a divorce, financial and property considerations are often among the most complex elements of the process. Dividing marital assets can be intensely personal, as well as extremely confusing, depending on what your marital estate includes. For example, if you and your spouse bought a particular piece of furniture, you may both have a sentimental attachment to it and deciding who should get to keep it may cause an argument. However, if you or your spouse own a business—or part of one—determining how those interests are to be handled in divorce may be much more challenging.

Proper Valuation Matters

To ensure the entire process of dividing property is completed equitably and in accordance with the law, you will need to establish the value of the business interests to be included in the marital estate. In fact, a business valuation is important even the company is non-marital, as personal assets of each spouse must be taken into account as well.

There are several commonly accepted methods of completing a business valuation. Each involves a different philosophy of business analysis, and, while none is objectively superior to the others, the approach you choose will probably be based on how you see your company:

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parenting time, DuPage County family lawyersWhen you and your child’s other parent are forced to come up with arrangements regarding for parenting time—previously known as visitation under Illinois law—it can be regrettably easy to get caught up in your own wants and needs. Some, of course, are entirely reasonable, such as building parenting time schedules around your career obligations, but many parents often forget to take their child’s wishes into account.

What the Law Says

While parents are encouraged to develop a parenting plan—including arrangements for parenting time—on their own, such a plan must be reasonable and serve the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, arrangements may be made by the court. In doing so, the court is required by law to take a number of factors into account, including the wishes of the child in question. The child’s wishes are not necessarily binding but should factor into the court’s ultimate decision. Your son or daughter’s opinion is just one of many factors that the court will take into account during the process.

Your Child’s Understanding

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) specifies that a child’s wishes should be considered in the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time proceedings. The law also provides, however, that the court must consider the child’s maturity and ability to understand the entire situation. A young child, for example, is likely to hold an opinion regarding which parent is more “fun,” and want to spend more time at that parent’s house. An older child, on the other hand, is more likely to understand the importance of fostering a healthy relationship with both parents and be more open to compromise.

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parenting plan, Wheaton child custody lawyerDivorcing parents in Illinois must submit a parenting plan or parenting agreement to the courts. The plan must explain how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be allocated to the parents and include other important child-related decisions. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plan, but parents cannot always come to an agreement about the issues addressed in the parenting plan. In these cases, the court will step in and assign a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests, called an allocation judgment. If the parents need to make a post-decree change to their parenting plan, they will need to do so through the family court system.

Changing a Court-Ordered Parenting Schedule

Any change to the final divorce decree is called a post-decree modification. Divorced individuals cannot make a post-decree modification for just any reason. Although it is still sometimes referred to as “child custody,” Illinois uses the phrase “parental responsibilities” to refer to a parent’s decision-making authority and parenting schedule. You may request a modification to the court order allocating parental decision-making responsibilities if it has been two years after the order was established. However, the court may grant a modification before two years if there is reason to believe that the current child custody arrangements may endanger the child’s health or emotional development. Parenting time, formerly called visitation, may be revised if there is a substantial change in circumstances that requires a change to serve the best interests of the child.

A substantial change in circumstances could include a move by one parent to another city or state or either parent getting a new job. If the child or either parent suffers a severe injury or is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, this could also qualify as a substantial change in circumstances.

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