Illinois parents can face a difficult time when their former partners not keep up with their child support obligations. Raising a child can be extremely expensive, and even everyday expenses can be overwhelming for a single parent. When parents don't comply with their court-ordered child support obligations, the financial situation of the custodial parent and their child can be stretched to the limit.
Some Illinois custodial parents might find the child support amount awarded to the ex-husband of actress Jodie Sweetin enviable. A court has ordered the star of the television show "Fuller House" to pay $2,800 every month for the support of her 7-year-old daughter.
Most parents in Illinois and around the country are conscientious about fulfilling their child support obligations. However, there are some individuals who attempt to avoid making payments. Recent economic shifts have, in some cases, made it difficult to use traditional support collection tactics.
According to a study done by ADP Research Institute, child support owed was the most common reason for workers to have their wages garnished. This made up 3 percent of wage garnishments in a study that looked at payroll data from 12 million American workers in 2016. Those in Illinois and other parts of the country who worked for smaller companies were more likely to have their wages garnished because of child support issues.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average noncustodial parent pays about $430 in child support each month. That translates to about $5,160 a year. However, a change to Illinois law may lower that amount for parents paying child support in the state.
When Illinois couples who are unmarried have babies, parentage may later have to be determined if the couples break up and there are custody and child support disputes. An unmarried man is not automatically presumed to be the father of a baby. Instead, his paternity must be legally established for child support to be ordered or for the man to gain custody or visitation rights.
Illinois parents who have young children and who are contemplating a divorce may question how much child support a non-custodial parent is supposed to pay. Child support calculators found online may offer an estimated amount that is far different from what a judge may order, as they are not as precise as many people may think.
There are a few alternative dispute resolution procedures as well as more informal types of negotiations available for parents in Illinois who are getting a divorce and who would like to participate in making a decision about child support rather than going through litigation. Parents might choose to negotiate informally to reach an agreement. If they do so without their respective attorneys, they can then have them review it. In some cases, they may allow the attorneys to do the negotiating.
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.
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.