I have seen many things in my career as a divorce attorney, but one of the most satisfying is always watching families come together and negotiate agreements that will benefit their children for their entire lives. Even in what seemed like the most unlikely circumstances at first, I have seen the court’s presumption that parents act in the best interest of their children proven right in front of my eyes countless times.
It is not always easy to negotiate a fair child support agreement. However, it is always satisfying knowing that children are getting all of the resources they deserve to thrive.
Child Support Overview in Illinois
As experts on child support in Schaumburg, my team and I know that divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging phase of life. We understand that both spouses have to deal with a whole host of complicated issues. We also understand how difficult it is in this context to make decisions that have long-term consequences for children and parents alike.
When children are involved, spouses often have disagreements over several aspects, including but certainly not limited to child support. The way childcare and support concerns are intertwined makes it difficult to reach a divorce settlement amicably.
However, as stated above, parents want to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children. So does the family law court. However, it is typically preferable not to let these decisions fall to a judge.
We usually focus on negotiation for this matter. We start by helping parents understand the depth of their obligations and the consequences should they attempt to pursue an unfair deal. Then, we encourage and empower everyone to do the right thing. The goal is to reach agreements that work sustainably for everyone involved. If that is not possible, we are fully prepared to go to court.
Do You Have To Pay Child Support?
Although you might not have to make a child support payment to your spouse, you do have to support your children. Generally speaking, this involves paying for or contributing to their support. This is a fine point, but it is important to understand how child support works in Illinois.
Parents have a legal obligation to support their children until they reach the legal age of majority. There are exceptions to this — if the child is disabled and requires indefinite support, for example.
In short, the parental duty is clear. However, with new Illinois child support laws in place as of 2017, it can be difficult to understand who should pay for the child’s needs and how support will be paid after dissolving the marriage.
Dedicated Attorneys Helping With Your Child Support Issues in Illinois
At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., we have been handling child support issues and other family law matters for over 15 years. We know the intricacies of the law and the intensity of the disputes involved in the process. We opt for a compassionate and client-centric approach and provide personalized services to our clients to better understand their situation.
Our child support attorneys stay up-to-date with the recent developments and changes in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), and craft comprehensive legal strategies based on your particular circumstances.
Choosing the Best Path to a Fair Agreement
We diligently pursue the rights and best interests of our clients and their children. We represent both sides of these cases, with experience representing both the receiving and the supporting parent. As mentioned above, we strive to reach a settlement through negotiation to avoid stressful and costly court proceedings. Negotiations are preferable for several reasons:
- They are collaborative: You are building a future for your children together, so it makes sense to work together in order to make that future sustainable.
- They are efficient: Negotiations save time, effort, and money when compared to the costly and slow processes of formal litigation.
- They are private: You can negotiate behind closed doors, but trials are almost invariably a matter of open public record.
- They are binding: The agreement you reach during negotiation will become binding once you present it to the court and it is approved.
- They are thorough: negotiations are formal procedures, and investigations are held to the highest standards of accountability possible outside litigation.
- They prepare for trial: If there is no satisfactory dispute resolution in negotiation, much of the evidence you collect in the discussion to have can inform the trial process.
Again, if things do not work out in the intended way, we prepare for litigation and aggressively represent your case to get the most favorable outcome. We will fight for the future your family deserves.
Changes to Illinois Child Support Laws
Previously, child support laws were based on a percentage model. Courts referred to a schedule in the statute 750 ILCS 5/505 comprising of the percentage of net income of supporting spouse and the number of children. This old law resulted in many unbalanced agreements. It was also out of line with the system of many other states at the time of its replacement.
As of July 1st, 2017, this practice was replaced by an income-shares model. The new model takes into account several factors to determine what each parent brings to the equation. The result is often similar. However, it allows some couples to create a much more balanced system of contribution for raising their children.
Essentially, child support was once essentially a formula. Now, the law now takes into account many more factors, such as:
- Parenting time
- Basic child support obligation
- Additional expenses
Additionally, the treatment of income has changed. Now, the net income of both parents is added and considered as the Total Family Income. Rather than the paying spouse’s income, is the new basis on which the child support payments will be calculated.
As is the case with many family law issues, judges sometimes make special considerations based on the unique situations of the family. They have wide authority to consider many factors when adjusting child support:
- The educational needs of your children
- The physical and emotional state of your children
- Your children’s probable quality of life had you remained married
- All other relevant factors
When you consider contemporary family life, the new system makes more sense than the old one. These days, many people live in dual-income households. Further, it makes sense to calculate the parenting time and the satisfaction of the parental obligations by both parents, recognizing these items for the valuable contributions that they are.
We can work with you to understand your role as a parent. We will do everything possible to show how you have contributed and will continue to contribute to your children’s lives. We can gather evidence, produce plans, and structure your case so that it is as persuasive as possible to your spouse, your spouse’s legal team, and, if necessary, to a judge.
Tax Implications of Child Support
Along with Illinois child support calculation formulas, there have been many other significant changes that affect child support in recent years. Several of them concern tax law.
The two major changes at the federal level are the dependency exemption and the child tax credit. The dependency exemption was a rule that allowed parents to get a tax break. This was removed in 2018. The child tax credit, on the other hand, was significantly enhanced. Compared to the previous version, it now provides a larger amount of credit and a larger rebate if the receiving parent does not have a tax obligation.
In addition to these changes, there is the matter of who will claim your children for other types of tax advantages, such as the child and dependent care credit. This is yet another type of credit.
Many of these federal benefits could potentially go to the spouse for whom they provide the greatest benefit. This reduces the overall burden of caring for your children and gives your family a brighter future.
Your Illinois taxes might also be affected by your child support and custody decisions. However, it bears mentioning that Illinois does not have a state-level child tax credit or a child and dependent care credit.
Rather than make oversights on this subject during your divorce and have to deal with headaches and delays — revoking a Form 8332 (a release to claim the dependency exemption), for example — it makes sense to plan ahead. Our lawyers can help prevent these types of mistakes and the potential conflicts they might cause.
Discuss your Case with our Dedicated, Friendly Family Law Attorneys Today
At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., our dedicated child support attorneys are capable of effectively dealing with all aspects of divorce, including child support. We work closely with you at every stage and strive to obtain the best possible results while protecting your rights throughout the legal process.
For more information on how our friendly child support attorneys can help you, contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., today at (847) 241-1299 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to evaluate your legal options.