5 Common Questions About Child Support in IL

If you’re getting divorced and have children, you may receive or have to pay child support. But, what does child support pay for and how does child support work in Illinois?

It can feel overwhelming to navigate the complexities of child support by yourself. By taking the time to understand the basic concepts underlying child support, you can have a better grasp on the topic, which is crucial to feeling comfortable and confident moving forward in your case and after your case is settled.

Below are the 5 most common questions we receive at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. about child support. These questions will help lay a foundation for your understanding and demystify some of the intricacies of child support in Illinois.

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Does IL Require Retroactive Child Support?

Let’s start with a hypothetical situation. Assume John and Jane are married and John moves out of the house before Jane files for divorce. Months pass and John does not contribute any money to the care of the children. When Jane files for divorce, what happens to all of the months John did not pay?

In all likelihood, John will have to pay Jane retroactive child support.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What retroactive child support is;
  • When it is required; and
  • How it is calculated

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How to Work Out a Parenting Schedule

Children’s issues are front and center in any divorce. In fact, you’ll have a parenting schedule and child support in place well before your final court date. But, how does a couple decide how to share time with the children?

In most cases, it’s a collaborative effort. While there is no longer custody in Illinois, the children are likely to live with one parent – often referred to as the residential parent – and enjoy visitation with the other parent. As such, it’s important to coordinate a schedule with your soon-to-be former spouse to ensure your children have a schedule and stability.

But, how is it done?

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Why You Should Always Settle in Divorce

The word “settlement” has a bad connotation in the realm of divorce. No spouse wants to “settle” and assumingly take less than what he or she is owed or perhaps even compromise with a spouse that he or she no longer gets along with.

However, the truth of the matter is that settlement should almost always be your goal. After all, litigation is time-consuming, messy, and, more importantly expensive. In fact, most cases that are litigated and go to trial can easily cost upwards of $30,000, $40,000, or even $50,000 or more. And, when you consider those attorney’s fees are coming out of your pocket or the property you’re awarded in the divorce, settlement becomes an even more attractive option.

Money aside, why would anyone want to settle? Below, we explore three of the most common reasons to offer a different perspective on what is typically a contentious process.

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Divorce Mediation Illinois 101

There are two ways to proceed with any divorce case in Illinois:

  1. Settlement negotiations; or
  2. Litigation

Litigation is what you think of when you hear the word “divorce.” It’s where you’ll spend seemingly endless hours in court, pay a small fortune, and deal with a contentious, disagreeable negotiation for months, if not years. This makes it no surprise why most couples, when they can, choose to settle their case rather than litigate.

One of the most popular methods to reach a settlement is mediation. In this article, we’ll cover all the basics of this process, including:

  • What is mediation?
  • How the process works; and
  • Common questions individuals have about this process

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Your Spouse Filed for Divorce: Now What?

Most divorce articles you read will tell you what to do as the spouse who files for divorce. But, what if you’re the spouse served with divorce papers? Then what?

Getting served may catch you off guard. However, this is no reason to proceed through the divorce process in a clumsy way. In fact, it should serve as a wake up call to remind you of your rights and to take proper steps to protect your children and personal interests throughout the process.

In this article, we’ll discuss the general procedure you should expect after being served and five steps and tips you should keep in mind as you proceed through the divorce process.

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Divorce, Finances, and Stay-at-Home Parents

Stay-at-home dads comprise 16 percent of the stay-at-home parent population whereas mothers comprise the other 84 percent. And, while statistics continue to evolve, one thing is certain: any stay-at-home parent faces potential financial difficulty after divorce.

In most stay-at-home parent arrangements, one spouse is the sole breadwinner and the other remains at home to care for the children. As you can imagine, this leads to disparate income gaps amongst parents and, upon divorce, the stay-at-home spouse feeling pressed for financial stability.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • Why stay-at-home parents often encounter financial difficulties;
  • How to protect your finances during and after your divorce;
  • Steps you should take for financial stability following the end of your divorce

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What to Know About Divorce and Taxes

If you’re considering divorce, you’re considering all the financial factors that go along with it. For many, this means considering big things like property, bank accounts, retirement savings, and more. But, what about taxes?

Few people are familiar with tax law. Even those who are sometimes struggle to make sense of what it’s going to mean to go from married filing jointly to single or how various components of the divorce, like child support payments, factor into taxes.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most important tax implications of divorce, including:

  • Property settlement;
  • Child support payments;
  • Child exemptions; and
  • Spousal Support/Alimony

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Why You Don’t (Necessarily) Want a Quick Divorce

This title is counterintuitive to how you feel about the divorce process. After all, why would you want to draw out the fighting, litigation, costs, and other negative processes that necessarily come with divorce?

The reason: Faster doesn’t always mean better.

Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, working out a fair arrangement for both you and your spouse will take time. Moreover, with the rest of your lives hanging in the balance, it’s important that you do the process methodically and do it right. By hiring a divorce attorney and better understanding the risks of a quick divorce, you can do both.

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5 Simple Tips for Effective Co-Parenting

Many parents (wrongfully) believe that divorce is the most difficult part of a separation for children. However, the co-parenting that follows can often be even more of a challenge. This is especially true if parents are unwilling or unable to work together in the best interests of the children.

Whether in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, or Will County, your divorce must focus on negotiating effective co-parenting arrangements with your former spouse. By doing so, you will make life after the divorce better for both yourself and your children.

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