Unwed Parents and Child Support Obligations

Having a child can be one the happiest moments in a couple’s life, with the child being everything that the couple could ever imagine. However, not all childbirth occasions are happy or joyous, especially when a child’s parents are no longer together. In fact, having a child can make for a huge burden, emotionally and financially.

Every Case is Different

No two child support cases are the same. Each family has their own unique situation and may have a lot of questions. However, the process to obtain child support is the same. In order for child support to be determined, there are a few basic facts to consider:

  • Legal parentage has to be established before child support can be ordered. This process is determined by a paternity test to indicate if the alleged father is biologically related to the child;
  • Either parent can be ordered to pay child support; and
  • The obligation to pay child support typically ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later.

How to Obtain Child Support in Illinois

An unwed couple can independently file for child support. The court will make the final decision on parentage before child support is officially ordered.

Another way to get child support is to contact Child Support Enforcement Services, who can help get an order for child support and change or enforce a child support order.

The court has the power to order additional payments for health care costs not covered by insurance, childcare costs allowing a parent to work or attend school, education costs, and extracurricular activities.

Child Support Calculated

In the state of Illinois, as of July 1, 2017, the method of setting child support as a percentage of one parent’s income was replaced by a calculation based on both parents’ income.

Known as the “income shares model,” this method of calculating support is supposed to be more equitable to both parents as it is based on the net income of both parents instead of  just the non-custodial parent. Hence, under the new model, a parent’s obligation depends on how much he or she financially contributes to the combined household income.

Income included in calculating both parents’ incomes now includes spousal support, and spousal support awarded in a prior divorce—sources that were not previously considered.

Additionally, if one parent is in the physical care of his or her child for at least 146 overnights a year, the court may multiply the basic child support obligation by 1.5.

Contact Your DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Attorney Anthony Abear has almost 20 years of experience in the family law and divorce practice. During that time, he has assisted many families with any questions about child support, and he is happy to help ease your mind regarding your case. To schedule your free initial consultation, please contact the knowledgeable Wheaton child support lawyers at Abear Law Offices at 630-904-3033 to get the help you deserve.