How Does Adoption Impact Child Support In Illinois?
If you intend to adopt a child, you probably are thinking about ensuring the child fits in and is comfortable in your home. However, in the case of divorce, you may have questions about how adoption will affect child support in Illinois. Below is important information to consider about this critical topic. If you have questions, please contact our child support lawyers in Schaumburg at Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C.
Child Support Overview
Before discussing how adoption affects child support, a definition of that support is essential to understand. Child support is the term used in Illinois to describe ongoing financial support one parent provides to the other after a divorce to provide for the children. When the parents separate or get divorced, the primary residential parent is entitled to child support from the other.
Child support payments in Illinois are designed to offset what it costs to raise a child and maintain their standard of living when the child has two homes. If one parent does not have as much money as the other, child support lets the lesser-earning parent provide for their child.
What Does Child Support In Illinois Cover?
Child support payments can be used to maintain a decent, safe home for the child. These payments usually cover:
- Household costs include rent, mortgage, furnishings, utilities, and food.
- Toys and clothes.
- Books, school fees, school supplies, and the cost of engaging in hobbies such as soccer or basketball.
- Medical costs, dental care, glasses, and related wellness needs
Remember that child support is only intended to provide for the child’s needs, and the money should not be used for the receiving parent’s entertainment, personal services, vacations, clothing, etc. It also should never be used for tobacco, alcohol, firearms, or tattoos. Instead, if you have money left over from your child support payment, you should put the money in an interest-bearing account and use it for your child’s needs in the future.
Adoption Laws In Illinois
It is common for stepparents to adopt the spouse’s children, and in most cases, this legal relationship continues for the parent and child’s life. Under state law, the child’s legal parent is the person recognized as the parent because the court has established the adoption. So, under the law in Illinois, a stepfather or stepmother who adopts their spouse’s children has the same responsibilities and rights as the biological family.
So, regardless of the divorce situation, the adoptive parent is still responsible for financially supporting the child. This is true whenever the adoption was finalized – 10 days or 10 years before the divorce. So, a person who legally adopted the children of their ex-spouse still has to pay child support.
It might help to view the issue from the biological parent’s point of view. Can the biological parent prevent you from winning child custody or visitation because you are ‘only’ the adoptive parent? No. The same rules enter the picture when the subject is child support provided by the adoptive parent or biological parent. The laws of Illinois do not distinguish between the two. Additionally, the birth parent cannot prevent the adoptive parent from having a relationship with the child they adopted.
So, while a stepparent is not typically required to support stepchildren financially, the matter changes when adoption occurs. The legal act of adoption causes a financial obligation to occur under the law, even though there is a divorce.
How Does The Judge Decide What The Child Support Payment Is?
In most cases, the child support payment is determined using a standardized income table as well as how many children there are, as well as the income of each parent. The child support obligation also varies based on how much each party contributed to the household income when they were married. The family court will also examine how much each party can and wants to spend with the children to decide the amount.
Also, Illinois courts sometimes alter the child support payment from standard levels if they believe it is in the child’s best interest. The child’s best interests are determined based on the following:
- What the financial needs of the child are.
- What the financial needs are of each parent.
- The educational, physical, and emotional needs of the child.
- The standard of living the child would have had if the parents stayed married.
Once the child support order is finalized, it can only be changed if the court finds a material change in circumstances. For instance, if you were laid off or had a reduction in pay through no fault of your own, these could be reasons to modify the child support order. Also, the child support payments stop when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school if they are 18 and still in school. Child support is not usually ordered after the child turns 19.
What Is The Difference Between The Current Child Support Law And The Old One?
Before 2017 in Illinois, your child support payment was decided based on a flat income percentage that increased based on the number of children. However, in July 2017, the state changed to the ‘income shares’ method to determine child support. Under the new law, the total child support obligation that both parents must provide is calculated according to new economic guidelines considering many factors.
When the judge determines this amount, the obligation to pay that amount is divided between the parents according to their incomes. Who pays depends on the person who is with the child the most and who makes more money.
In a shared parenting situation, child support is determined differently. ‘Shared parenting’ means each party has at least 146 overnight stays per year. With the shared parenting situation, the total child support payment that each parent must pay is raised by 50%. Also, each party’s time with the child is considered when determining the payment.
What If One Parent Stops Working?
If one parent decides to stop working to avoid paying child support, this will not work. The family court will usually look at the parent’s potential income rather than what they earn currently. First, the court will decide if unemployment is voluntary or outside the parent’s control. If the unemployment is voluntary, the judge will determine if the child’s best interests are served by the parent being voluntarily unemployed. If it is not in the child’s best interest, the court will decide their income if they were working.
What About Child Support For College Costs?
Child support is always provided for a child before they are 18 or graduating from high school, whichever happens first. While child support may be granted for college, you must prove that this is needed.
How Is Child Support Affected When You Have Several Child Support Obligations?
If you pay child support to more than one parent, the initial child support order that was entered lowers your net income when the second child support payment is determined. So, the second child support amount is usually less than the first. However, the second child support order does not reduce the first amount. Therefore, what is most important is which child support order was initiated first.
What If There Is A Disagreement About Child Support Payments Made?
The payor must prove that they made every required payment. For instance, if one party says they paid the other in cash but does not have receipts, the court will not allow credit for those funds. Therefore, having financial records of your child support payments is essential, so you should never deal in cash.
Also, you cannot pay the mother back child support payments by promising to pay for various items for your child. If there is a child support order, you must pay according to the agreement to be given credit.
What Do You Do If A Child Support Collection Case Is Filed?
If the parent or the state files a case against you, it is necessary to provide proof of all payments made with bank statements, canceled checks, or receipts the receiving parent signed. You need evidence of these payments to be given credit for them.
Can I Deny Visitation If My Ex Is Not Paying Child Support?
No, you cannot deny visitation rights that the court ordered because the parent is not paying child support. If your ex-partner is behind on child support.
How Is Child Support Affected If A Parent Remarries?
If the parent receiving child support remarries, many people think this will affect what they pay for child support. However, remarriage does not usually affect child support payments because the new party has no legal obligation to care for that child.
Speak To Our Child Support Lawyers In Schaumburg Today
If you have questions about paying or receiving child support in Illinois and how adoption affects the situation, it helps to work with a qualified attorney. Our child support lawyers in Schaumburg at Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., are skilled in all aspects of divorce, including child support, so call (847) 241-1299.