Divorces and determining child support can be confusing for many parents. A new child support law is on the horizon in Illinois and will certainly lead to more questions about calculations and obligations. While the law does not go into effect until July 2017, it is important for divorced parents to understand how the law will affect them.
Generally, child support payments stop when a child reaches the age of 18 and is considered an adult. However, Illinois allows a divorced parent to file for college expenses, asking their ex-spouse to help support their child through college. This is especially relevant if the child likely would have had access to college education if their parents had not divorced. The amount a child can receive will depend on a number of factors.
A recent study found that the average owner of a smartphone touches the device's display about 2,600 times per day, adding up to approximately a million swipes, wipes, taps and touches per year. The most used app? Facebook.
Child support calculations are not arbitrary. They are calculated based on several factors like each parent's income, the needs of the child and the standard of living that would have been available if the parents were married. Then, after also taking into consideration Illinois child support guidelines, a judge will set the amount of support to be paid.
The law is not static. Changes don't always happen quickly or easily in Illinois's legislature, but they happen. And the volume of measures that can be introduced in any given session means that bill tracking can be a challenge. In the end, it can be hard to know whether a proposal has made it through or died on the vine.
More than 150 years ago, Charles Dickens wrote about debtors' prison, letting his readers understand just how absurd a construct it is. When we read Dickens now, the thought of putting people in jail because they cannot pay their debts seems silly. And yet, the idea has resurfaced, though perhaps informally.
We are talking about child support and the government's -- both state and federal -- attempts to collect past due support payments. The reforms passed by Congress in 1996 eliminated, for the most part, the problem of noncustodial parents skirting their obligations even if they had the money. These efforts, however, were not quite as successful with parents who could not afford to pay. Even when you consider the economic ups and downs of the past 20 years, including the Great Recession, it still comes as a surprise that more than $113 billion in child support payments is currently right now.
Over the past couple of decades, family advocates have had their ups and downs. The good news is that, for the most part, the myth of the Welfare Mom has passed into history. Even the most heated presidential debates no longer rail at these single mothers who are addicted to public benefits, who would rather have more children to collect more welfare checks than have a steady job with a decent wage and a modest benefit package.
When a minor-aged child's parents divorce or split-up, steps must be taken to decide child custody and visitation. In most child custody cases, one parent is deemed to be the custodial parent or the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time. In order to provide for a child's basic, education and medical needs; a custodial parent is advised to file for child support.
We've previously written on the topic of child support and the basics of how support is determined and awarded. Regardless of whether a child's parents were ever married or not, every child has the legal right to receive financial support from both parents. It's important, therefore, that custodial parents take steps to secure child support payments to aid in paying for expenses related to a child's daily needs, medical care and education.