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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

Illinois child support law brings changes

An amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will result in major alterations to the way child support is calculated. The law, which will go into effect July 1 and which is already being taken into account by some courts, will have a particular impact on non-custodial parents since it brings a new way of calculating how much each parent will be required to pay for their children's expenses.

The main change the law brings about is that courts will now have a broader view of what can be considered an income source for both parents involved in the child support order. Additionally, courts will now consider how much of the financial weight each parent was responsible for during the marriage and how much time each parent wants to and can spend with their child after the divorce is finalized.

The effect of emancipation on child support

There are cases in which children can become emancipated, absolving the noncustodial parent of any obligation to provide support. Parents who receive or pay child support should be aware of how the emancipation of their children before they reach the age of majority, which in Illinois is 18, can affect those payments.

A minor may be allowed to self-emancipate for a variety of reasons. He or she may have obtained economic independence or has completely abandoned the parental home. A child may also be emancipated if he or she has married or signed up for military service.

Protecting businesses in divorce

When Illinois company owners are married, it is important for them to draw up contingency plans in the event that they later choose to divorce. Couples who co-own businesses and who do not have such plans in place risk the failure of their businesses if they divorce and are subsequently unable to get along.

One case involving a Delaware company highlights the problems that can happen when companies outlast their owners' relationships. TransPerfect is a company that employs 3,500 employees. It was founded by a couple who later split up, and they have been unable to get along since that time. The problems have become severe enough that the company itself is in jeopardy. The couple sued each other in court, and the Delaware state legislature has now stepped in because of fears about what will happen to the company and its 3,500 employees.

Disability does not cancel child support obligations

When a non-custodial Illinois parent becomes disabled and unable to work, it can create financial burdens on the custodial parent as well. If parents paying child support becomes disabled, it does not relieve them of their obligation. With less income coming in, this parent may be forced to pay a lower amount of child support and this could impact the custodial parent's financial situation.

If non-custodial parents become disabled either temporarily or permanently, they should ask the court to modify the child support order, especially if they have no other source of income. Some parents may have disability insurance, perhaps through their employer, but the benefits are likely to be less than their regular paycheck.

How the DPPA may help a parent collect child support

Illinois parents who are not receiving child support because the other parent has left the state in order to avoid paying may be unaware there is a federal law that could help them collect what they are owed. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a 1998 law that is specifically designed to punish parents who have traveled out of the state to avoid paying child support.

Two other provisions must be in place to use the DPPA. The parent must owe over $5,000 and must not have paid support for over a year, or the parent must owe more than $10,000 and must not have paid support in more than two years.

Common mistakes to avoid during your high-asset divorce

Going through a divorce is never simple or enjoyable. Due to the many factors involved in a divorce, there is always an opportunity for contentious disagreements and litigation. Difficulties and complications are often worse if you and your spouse have complex assets. Because of this, you should be prepared to deal with every aspect of the process, from determining child support to valuating your business. Being prepared will help you avoid common mistakes people make during high asset divorces.

Increase in divorces for older couples

Baby boomers in Illinois and around the country had high rates of divorce during their youth, and this trend still continues as people in this generation get older. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that between 1990 and 2015, the divorce rate for those of the age of 50 and over doubled, and the rate for those who are 65 years and older tripled.

Baby boomers currently make up the majority of these age groups. There are other trends that also contribute to the growing divorce rate among older couples. Many individuals remarried after their first marriage failed, and remarriages tend to be less successful than first ones.

Helping kids cope with divorce

Divorce is never easy for Illinois couples. It may be even more difficult for parents who are ending their marriage. It is critical that parents make sure that their divorce puts a focus on the needs of their children as much as it focuses on their own needs. Most importantly, children need and want to hear that they are cared for and loved.

Estranged parents are encouraged to never say anything bad about each other in front of the kids. If a child says that he or she had a good time with the other parent, the news should be met with a smile or some other positive reaction. When it comes time to start divorce negotiations, it may be best to do so in a collaborative environment. This decreases the odds that parents see each other as adversaries.

Fathers and child support

Noncustodial fathers in Illinois and around the country who fail to pay to child support regularly tend to spend less time with their children, have a higher likelihood of having offspring with multiple partners and may work fewer weeks per year. This is according to a study that evaluated the link between paternal participation and child support debt.

Noncustodial parents in the U.S. paid $32.4 billion in child support through the Office of Child Support Enforcement to aid in the upbringing and care of their children in 2015. Typically, the parents who do not reside with their children are required to make payments to the parents who do. There are criminal and civil penalties that parents can incur if they fail to make their child support payments on time. This can include the suspension, restriction or revocation of their driver's license or passports, tax return interceptions and wage garnishments. Toward the end of 2016, the attorney general's office in Texas began preventing the renewal of vehicle registrations for delinquent parents.

How to divide a shared business in divorce

Illinois couples who own a business together may not think about their marriages coming to an end, but a prenuptial agreement or a buy-sell agreement might protect that business in such an instance. However, since some people may want to avoid discussing the possibility of divorce, couples may have no plan in place about how they will divide their business.

One option may be for one to buy out the other. People who lack the liquid assets for doing this might be able to get a bank loan. A property settlement note is another type of loan that is for the long term and includes interest. One potential hurdle may be getting a valuation for the business because this can be expensive and time-consuming. A couple could also continue to run the business together. If the divorce is amicable, this could work as a solution. However, spouses should create a shareholder agreement that allows one to buy out the other.

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