Over the next several weeks, parents throughout Illinois will spend hundreds of dollars (if not more) on holiday gifts for their children – including divorced parents. For some nonresidential parents (that is, parents with whom their children do not reside full-time), the holidays can be an especially trying time, financially speaking. While not wanting to disappoint their children by failing to purchase gifts, many of these nonresidential parents may find it difficult to make lavish purchases for their children because of the nonresidential parent’s child support obligations. Are there circumstances in which amounts spent on gifts or other items for your child can be counted toward your child support amount?
If you have a child in Illinois and separate from the child’s other parent, one of you will be ordered to pay child support to the parent who has primary custody over the child. Illinois child support is calculated as a percentage of the payor parent’s take-home pay. The precise percentage depends on the total number of children the parents have in common (not necessarily the total number of children of the payor parent).
It is rare for the personal and financial situations of spouses to remain the same in the months and years following a divorce. The ex-spouses might remarry, one ex-spouse might take a new job, or one ex-spouse might decide to move to another part of the country. At the very least, any children born to the divorced couple will experience a change of situation as they grow from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood. Because of the fluidity of the personal situations of divorced couples and their children, it only makes sense that the law allows child support obligations to be modified as these personal situations change. This ability to modify an existing child support order is not limitless, however.
If you can not afford to make your child support payments, do not simply stop paying. Failure to pay your child support can lead to fines, loss of your driver’s license, wage garnishment and other monetary seizures, and even jail time. As a parent, you are legally required to financially provide for your child.
If you have a child or children, you are required by law to support child until the child reaches the age of majority. The amount of child support you are required to pay must be reviewed and subsequently approved by a court of law. Once a judge approves the amount of child support obligation the non-custodial parent owes, the judge will put that amount into a judicial order. This judicial order is recorded and the determined amount must be paid. If a non-custodial parent fails to pay his or her child support obligation, he or she may be held in civil contempt, where he or she can be arrested until he or she “purges,” or pays, a specified amount of past due support.
There are an estimated 24 million children in the United States currently being raised in single-parent homes. While this may not represent every child of unmarried or divorced parents due to the nature of the study, it clearly indicates that a large percentage of American children may be subject to shared custody, visitation and child support arrangements.
Child support is a likely conclusion if you have a child and are not married to the child’s mother/father, or if you are in the process of getting a divorce. Getting the full amount of support you are owed can be difficult and complicated. However, with the right attorney, you and your child can get the correct amount of child support due.