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Paying Child Support: What Non-Custodial Parents Should Know

Illinois family lawyer

A divorce or split-up can often be financially and emotionally draining for both parties involved. When children are involved, things can get even more complicated, as both parents quarrel over who will get child custody and how much support will be provided to each child.

In the majority of child custody cases, non-custodial fathers must pay child support to custodial mothers. In rare cases, non-custodial mothers pay custodial fathers. In the event that parents become divorced, they both have an obligation to support their children's needs financially, according to verywellfamily.

Marriage isn't a factor in a parent's obligation to pay child support. That means that regardless of the nature of the relationship between the two parents, both are required by law to provide support. Child support also applies to cases involving adoptions, or when the parental rights of a biological parent are terminated.

Failing to pay child support can carry some harsh legal consequences such as jail time, wage garnishment, tax refund interception, property seizure, as well as driver's license and business license suspension.

Under what circumstances are parents exempt from paying child support?

By law, a non-custodial parent must continue to pay child support unless or until any of the following conditions apply:

  • Your child is 18 years old or older (unless the child has special needs)
  • Your child becomes active-duty military
  • Your parental rights are ended through adoption or another legal process
  • The court deems your child "emancipated," or able to be self-supporting

How does child support work in joint custody?

Joint custody involves decision-making and physical custody between both parents. Custodial arrangements are often made based on the availability of each parent. It may include living with one parent during weekdays and another parent on weekends and holidays.

When both parents have joint custody of a child, the court will determine how much each parent pays. The payment calculation is based primarily on two factors:

  • How much each parent contributes to a couple's joint income
  • The time each parent has physical custody of the child

How is child support determined?

When determining how much financial support must be provided to a child, the court will look at the following factors:

  • The child's standard of living prior to the parents splitting up
  • Which of the child's needs must be met
  • The ability for custodial and non-custodial parents to pay for support
  • If any changes in the child's needs occur

When hardships or changes in income occur with the non-custodial parent, there may be considerations regarding how much he or she must pay. For example, the payment may be reduced if the non-custodial parent lost his or her job and/or took a lower-paying job. Reduction, however, doesn't apply if a non-custodial parent quits his or her job and decides to go back to school.

In the event of a hardship, medical emergency, change in income, or change in the child's needs, modifications may be submitted to a judge. If an agreement can't be made by both parents, it may be necessary to consult with an experienced Illinois family lawyer.

The attorneys at Courtney Clark Law P.C., are based in Belleville. We can work with you to ensure that your portion of child support is either paid or received fairly. Having our legal team on your side can help you avoid a great deal of confusion and help you with any legal hurdles you face with the terms of your child support.

To find out how we can help you, contact us online and schedule your free case consultation today.

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