Parentage & Paternity
Child Support and Related Costs
In Illinois, the court recognizes that both parents have a duty to support their child and it is because of this that Illinois uses an income share model to calculate child support. The court will consider each party’s income and determine a support amount based on each party’s share of the total household income.
While this calculation is a good starting point, it is not the entire story. The court has several other factors to consider and which good attorneys can effectively present such as the needs of the child, the spousal support amount, health insurance for the children, and the amount of overnights with each parent. The court also has the discretion to order that support be paid either above or below the statutory guideline depending on the situation of the parties and the best interest of the child.
In addition to child support, the court will also allocate certain child-related expenses such as life insurance obligations, childcare, extracurricular activities and camps, uncovered medical expenses, pre-college expenses, and others between the parties based on their income and other factors.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time (formerly known as “Custody”)
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (formerly referred to as “custody”) is the term used to describe the how the significant “roles” of a parent will be allocated moving forward. Often these “roles” will be divided equally with each parent’s opinions being heard and discussed prior to a joint decision being made, but the parties have to demonstrate the ability to get along cooperatively.
If parents cannot agree or communicate well, in these instances, the court determines that it is not in the child’s best interest for these decisions to be made jointly. It will thus award one parent the final decision-making power. This means that in the event of a disagreement, that parent with the final decision-making power shall make the ultimate decision. When making this determination, the Court will consider the best interests of the child, parent’s ability to cooperate and make joint decisions, past participation in these decision-making events, and the child’s needs.
Another aspect of parenting is parenting time (formerly referred to as “visitation”). Perhaps this is the most painful and difficult issue for parents and children alike because you will never be with your children 24/7 again. Illinois Courts generally try to provide the child spends as much time as possible with both parents while also taking into account the geographic location of the parents, the wishes of the child, the history of the family, and so many other “best interest of the child” factors. In some cases where the parties are unable to agree or if other issues like addiction or abuse are present, the Court will appoint a Child Representative or Guardian ad Litem to advocate for the minor child and help the parties negotiate or advise the Court when an agreement simply cannot be reached.
In Illinois, “relocation” is when the primary residential parent or parent with at least equal parenting time wishes to move more than 25 miles from their current residential address and bring the child with him or her. The further the distance, of course, the more challenging the case.
These can be some of the most difficult cases given the emotions, complex factors involved, and competing considerations. If the parents are not able to come to an agreement, the Court will make this determination after weighing the factors, often with the assistance of a Child Representative or Guardian ad Litem.
Illinois is one of the stricter states regarding this right to relocate and Allen & Glassman, Chartered can work with you to accomplish or challenge a relocation.