The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

aurora divorce lawyerChild support in Illinois terminates at age 18 or high school graduation. Since January 1, 2016, codified in Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, divorced parents have been obligated to contribute to their non-minor child’s education and living expenses. However, these agreed-upon contributions, stated in the divorce decree, can be modified. For instance, a modification is likely if one parent is incapable of contributing payment because of unemployment or illness. If a financially able parent default on payment, then that parent can be held in contempt of court.          

Negotiating the tuition and living expenses of a non-minor child can be acrimonious. A family law attorney who understands the complexities of child support can help draft a modification or enforce a prearranged tuition agreement in the divorce decree.

Seven Terms of Section 513 of the Illinois Law

  1. The funds from a 529 account, which appropriates money for higher education, can help with payment for tuition and living expenses.

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Yorkville Child Support AttorneyWhether you are the parent who pays child support or you receive child support payments, you may be interested in modifying your child support order at some point. Illinois law only allows adjustment of the child support order under certain circumstances. If you need help asking the court for a child support modification, do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney experienced in child support matters.

Illinois Child Support Modification

If your child support order was established through an administrative process, rather than the courts, you can request a modification through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). By default, Illinois parents with administrative child support orders are eligible for a modification review every three years. If it has been less than three years since the child support order was established or last modified, the parent requesting a modification review will need to justify the request. One of the most common reasons for a modification review request is a change in the financial circumstances of either party. For example, if a parent is laid off from work, he or she may not be able to afford the same level of support as he or she could afford when he or she was working.

Another reason a parent may need to modify child support is a significant increase in the child’s financial needs. For example, if a child is diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, a parent may be required to pay more support to help cover medical expenses.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_kane-county-child-support-lawyer.jpgRaising children can be one of the most rewarding, joyful things a person ever does. However, any honest parent will also tell you that raising children can be a never-ending, thankless task. Children are always hungry, they break things they know they are not allowed to touch, and they have a knack for putting holes in new shoes and clothing - in other words, kids are expensive. If you are divorced or are co-parenting with someone you were never married to, child support payments are often a crucial source of income for your children’s ongoing needs. An ex’s failure to pay child support may not only be frustrating, but terrifying - if you cannot make rent, what will you do? Desperation can lead many parents to wonder if they can withhold parenting time from a parent who refuses to pay child support.

Child Support and Parenting Time Are Not Conditional Upon Each Other

Perhaps unfortunately for those trying to recover lost support money, parenting time may never be withheld as a consequence for unpaid child support. These are two separate issues under Illinois law, and one cannot be used as an incentive for the other. Courts will not prevent a parent from seeing their child because they have not paid child support, because to do so would punish the children for something they have no responsibility for or control over. In fact, trying to withhold parenting time can result in court sanctions against the parent who does this.

How Can I Get Unpaid Child Support? 

Just as Illinois courts view parenting time as essential to a child’s wellbeing, they also view child support in the same way - and there are ways to recover child support that do not harm a child’s relationship with their parent or put you at risk of court sanctions. The first step is to file a petition with a court to enforce child support obligations. A court can then ask the paying parent why he or she stopped making payments and use various tools - including fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time - to punish continued non-payment. Illinois also has a Division of Child Support Services that exists to help parents get the child support they need. An attorney can help you pursue whichever option is likely to result in the fastest, most effective recovery for your case. 

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Popular wisdom holds that once a child turns 18, a divorced parent no longer has to pay child support. Although in many cases this is true, in Illinois children of divorced parents may lay claim to child support that continues for several years after a child reaches legal adulthood.

Divorced parents can be required by Illinois family courts to contribute to their child’s college expenses. Illinois is something of an outlier in this regard, but the courts have consistently upheld this responsibility, even when parents have challenged it. Considering that the cost of college can be significantly more than a down payment on a home, the prospect of paying for a child’s college involuntarily can be concerning. If you are divorced or plan on getting divorced in Illinois, it is essential to understand your future financial obligations for non-minor child support. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_452916241.jpg Child support usually ends when the child grows up and graduates high school. However, if a child is disabled (mentally or physically), there may be an extension of child support payments. In the state of Illinois, child support payments are determined using the Income Shares formula. The court will determine how much each parent pays in child support based on their net incomes. However, there is another factor that determines the type and amount of child support ordered: the child’s need. By working with a family law attorney, child support can be modified or extended to support a child with special needs. 

Getting Support for a Disabled Child

Child support in Illinois ends when the child turns 18 years old and graduates high school because it is assumed the child will be able to emotionally and financially support themselves. However, this is not the case when dealing with a child or adult with special needs. The non-minor child with special needs may not be able to financially support themselves into adulthood, and so the custodial parent may be required to continue providing support. In this scenario, child support from the non-custodial parent can be extended. 

What Qualifies as a Disability?

According to the Illinois General Assembly, a disability must be a permanent ailment that causes significant cognitive or motor-function loss of a person. The disability must have originated before the person turned 18 in order for him or her to qualify for non-minor support. The following disabilities may qualify an individual for non-minor support:

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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