Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support

In Illinois when will child support terminate?

Child support will terminate when a child reaches the age of majority (normally at the age of 18). Child support might continue even if the child is still in school even though he or she is 18. It will not be terminated automatically. The duty to pay support will continue unless and until the court enters an order.

Without divorce, does child support exist?

Illinois law allows a parent to file for visitation rights or custody without a legal dissolution of marriage, so support may be issued. Before filing a petition for support, temporary custody must be determined. In situations such as this, unless records show past abuse, parents have equal rights to have the children live with them.

In Illinois, can child support be modified?

Illinois law allows the child support to be modified providing that a significant change that has not been previously addressed has occurred.

In Illinois, how can there be an increase in child support?

A petition must be filed in order to increase the amount of child support. A significant increase in the supporting parent’s income will give support to the petition. In Illinois, child support can also be decreased. Yet again, a petition for the decrease in the amount of child support must be filed. The most common reasons for being granted a decrease in the amount of the child support payment is a reduction in the supporting parent’s income. Additionally, if there is an increase in the needs of the supporting parent for reasons such as a medical condition that requires more of his or her income to cover health expenses.

Can an Illinois court require employers to deduct the amount of the child support from salary of the supporting parent and then make the payment straight to the parent receiving support?

Yes, the court can order this when the supporting parent is working at a job. This device will not be helpful if much of the supporting parent’s income is in cash payments or tips because he or she is self-employed, or solely paid a commission without regular pay.

Can a support order in Illinois be stated strictly in terms of a percentage?

No, it cannot. If the paying parent’s income varies, the amount of support would then vary as well. The law requires a specific dollar amount in the support order; a percentage order would be invalid.

Can the court require a supporting parent to work and pay child support if he or she is unemployed?

Yes. The court can order the supporting parent to actively seek employment and report to the court periodically demonstrating his or her efforts to find employment and he or she can be required to participate in a governmental job search, work programs or job training.

What happens when the supporting parent loses his or her job or becomes too ill to work?

Child support will continue to accumulate and the Illinois court cannot to erase the accumulated amount. A parent who cannot work must to seek Illinois court intervention immediately and file a petition requesting modification or abatement of the child support. Once the petition has been filed, the Illinois court will be able to reduce or abate the amount of the child support due to the change in circumstances.

If the supporting parent earns a very large income or is very wealthy, does the Illinois court award a larger payment?

The trial court can award support exceeding the standard guidelines. The court will take the lifestyle of the custodial parent as well as the supporting parent into consideration. The source of the income of the custodial parent, for instance public aid, ordinarily will not have an effect on the amount of the payment expected from the contributing parent.

If the supporting parent were to take a voluntary cut in income, can a reduction in the amount of child support be made?

There is a possibility of a reduction in the payment. Modification of the child support amount is possible if the employment change was made in good faith. It may be considered a change in material circumstances if the supporting parent has lost his or her job, and it was not caused by deliberate misconduct on the part of the supporting parent with the intention of evading the payment of child support.

How would a new spouse’s income be viewed in terms of child support if a parent remarries?

The income of the new spouse would not be considered for child support, since he or she would have no legal obligation to provide any support to a spouse’s child. Additional funds may be available for the payment of monthly support if the added income allows the parent who is paying support to spend less.

Would a parent’s death terminate the support?

No, it would not. The obligation for support can be enforced against the estate of the deceased parent.

If the child were to die, would support be terminated?

The child support can be terminated upon the death of the child, however, it would require a court order to modify or end support.

Who is required to provide the children’s’ health insurance?

The Marital Settlement Agreement typically addresses and takes care of this issue in Illinois. It is imperative that the child or children have coverage during process of the divorce. A decision can be reached between the two parents; however, the parent who, through his or her employment, can provide coverage is considered as the responsible party.

If visitation is being prevented, should the support payments be stopped?

Unfortunately, no, each is a separate legal duty on its own. A parent still must provide support even if he or she is being denied visitation. Non-payment of support and visitation must petition the court separately.

Are the child support payments deductible on taxes?

The support amount that is declared on the settlement date is not considered as income of the parent who will be receiving it; hence, the amount of the support cannot be deducted as an expense for federal income tax purposes.

Is the paying spouse obligated to continue making support payments when he or she files for bankruptcy?

Yes, payments must continue. The federal law does not allow the discharge of any alimony or child support payments.

In Illinois, is college tuition considered a part of child support?

This is dependent upon the initial order, which was granted by the Illinois court before the child began attending college. If the child’s college tuition was not a part of the original order then you will have to re-file for a modification to prove to the Illinois court that the child is currently doing well and would be in the child’s best interests to continue with college. The court will make a judgment at this point as to whether the child support should continue for the duration of school and whether additional money should be paid to cover part of the bills for tuition.