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NOTE: A new Illinois law governing how child support is calculated went into effect in July 2017. Please visit our child support page for details

child support, Illinois child support law, child support lawyer, Illinois family lawyer, DuPage County family lawWhen parties going through a divorce have children, the issue of child support will inevitably arise. How child support is calculated is different in each state; some have complicated formulas which are difficult for parties to understand. The Illinois child support statutes are relatively straightforward, from a legal perspective. While there are some gray areas which allow room for argument regarding support, a skilled family law attorney can make the process of calculating child support relatively easy.

Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/505 defines a child, with respect to child support, as one “under 18 or any child under 19 still in High School.” The statute further states that parents have a duty of support owed to a child which includes an obligation to provide for “reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child.” Although both parents technically owe a duty of support, the non-custodial parent (or non-residential parent) often ends up as the payor of support to the custodial/residential parent (the parent with whom a child or children primarily resides).

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divorce rate, divorce trend, divorce and economy, divorce finances, cost of divorce, DuPage County family law attorneyIn 2012, the number of individuals in the United States who filed for divorce rose for the third year in a row. All three of those years were following a major recession, perhaps indicating a link between economic improvement and the number of people seeking a divorce.

Though bad news for those who do not want a divorce, the upswing in the number of people filing for divorce could be an indicator that peoples' personal financial situations are improving—meaning, those who file for divorce now have the ability to pursue a divorce where perhaps previously poor finances would have prevented them from filing.

When the economy is in a recession, and especially when unemployment numbers are up, people tend to avoid potentially costly big life changes if they can. And it's not just the legal fees people are trying to avoid; for example, couples who want to divorce often have property that should be listed for sale. In the midst of a bad housing market, these couples might decide it simply doesn't make sense to divorce and split finances when they could wind up losing value on their property.

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If you are considering divorce or are in the process of a divorce currently, you have a lot of incentives to become organized. Getting and staying organized can actually increase your chances of success in the divorce process. Not only does organizing your personal records and documents help your attorney, but it can also provide peace of mind and help you understand your own situation better.

Your attorney will undoubtedly request documents from you to better understand, among other things, your financial situation. Financial documentation is critical in the determination of property division, maintenance, child support, and debt allocation. Information on individual and family spending habits, debts, and income/cash flow is necessary for resolution of the financial aspect of a divorce—and it can even have an impact on other issues such as child custody. Having this information readily available helps your attorney work on resolving all of these issues right off the bat and helps him or her have a better idea of where the case is headed and how the overall picture looks.

When your attorney has better and more detailed information, this helps your divorce case, which of course helps you. But there are additional benefits to you by becoming organized with your information and documentation. If you take the time to gather and review important documents early on, you can understand your own situation better and make more informed decisions later on. You may also reduce any pressure later on of locating critical documents under time constraints.

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A recently publicized news story involving the interplay of immigration laws and divorce has the legal community anxiously awaiting a verdict. At issue in the case, out of southern Texas, is whether a former husband can be legally responsible for paying maintenance (alimony) to his former wife based not on divorce law but on a rarely-enforced immigration provision.

KerryThe parties in the case were married in 2003; the wife was a citizen of Mexico. In order for her to obtain a green card to stay in America, her then-fiancé signed a document in which he agreed to financially support his soon-to-be wife at 125% above the poverty level (currently, the poverty level for a single person is approximately $11,500.00 annually). The document, known as an I-864 Affidavit of Support, is theoretically a contract between the person who signs it, the spouse, and the United States Government. The purpose of the Affidavit is to ensure that the person receiving the green card will not become a public charge—someone who relies on government assistance for support.

The parties were married for six years, had a daughter, and then the wife filed for divorce. The husband was granted custody of the daughter. The wife remarried, which marriage also ended in divorce. Under Illinois law, if the wife had been awarded maintenance after the first divorce, her first husband's obligation to pay maintenance would terminate upon the wife's remarriage.

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From both a financial and an emotional standpoint, divorces are inherently complex. When a divorce is paired with a substantial financial portfolio, however, the plot thickens. Headlines regarding high net worth divorces—and the financial consequences for the spouses—are frequent. For example, a recent article on CNN Money reported that the CEO of Best Buy sold stock to help pay for his divorce settlement; CNBC also lists some of the most costly breakups. Unfortunately, however, such costly divorces are not limited to celebrities and multi-millionaires. Whether you are a famous celebrity, a successful business owner, or someone with significant assets for another reason, it is important to understand how to protect yourself in the event of a divorce.

What to do Before Marriage

Robyn Preparing a prenuptial agreement is a great way to protect assets before a couple even gets married. Also known as a premarital agreement, this written contract becomes effective once a couple is married and may address topics such as:

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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