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DuPage County family law attorneysThe issue of taxes is often a difficult one during a divorce. Taxes may become especially challenging if both spousal and child support are ordered to be paid by the same party. However, Illinois permits what is referred to as unallocated support or separate maintenance, which can greatly lessen a paying parent’s tax bill while ensuring that their obligations are still met. If you are in a precarious financial situation, it may be to your benefit to learn more about unallocated support.

Tax Burdens on Support Payments

Under federal law, child support payments are not taxable income for their recipient parent, nor are they tax deductible for the paying parent. This is due, in large part, to the fact that federal tax law permits one parent to claim the child or children as dependents for other tax credits. Spousal maintenance payments, however, are deductible by the payer and taxable as income for the recipient. This can create a tax disparity for the payer, because very often, child support in Illinois will total much more than the amount of spousal maintenance.

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DuPage County paternity lawyersIn Illinois, most of the time, paternity is not assumed when a child is born to unmarried parents. In most such cases, it must be affirmatively acknowledged. It is imperative that you understand how the law applies to your situation so that you do not wind up with limited rights to see your children. A failure to acknowledge paternity at the appropriate time can severely restrict your right not only to see them, but to exercise your rights with regard to their lives and welfare.

How to Acknowledge Paternity

The procedure to formally acknowledge paternity differs, depending on whether or not you are married to the child’s mother. If you are married to her, you are by law presumed to be the father of any children born to her during your marriage, unless you complete a Denial of Paternity form at the appropriate time (usually immediately following the child’s birth). If you are not married to her but she is married to someone else, her husband must complete the Denial of Paternity. In addition, both you and the mother must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. Failure to do so will place the husband by default as the father. If neither you nor the mother is currently married, you must both complete the VAP, but there is generally less of a hurry.

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Naperville family law attorneyIllinois courts are generally in favor of children having both parents in their lives, if at all possible. However, sometimes a parent is simply not an acceptable choice, for any number of reasons, to have any parental responsibilities. In other cases, a parent actively chooses to relinquish their parental rights. If either situation does become reality for you, there is a procedure in place to terminate your former spouse’s parental rights.

Juvenile Court Terminations

If there is evidence that a parent has been involved in criminal activity, the state can initiate proceedings vie the juvenile court system and the Department of Children and Family Services to terminate parental rights. There are very few situations where an Illinois court will terminate parental rights if another person is not standing in to adopt the child—terminating a father’s parental rights in favor of an adoptive stepfather, for example—but a pattern of criminal activity or proof of child abuse and/or significant neglect is one.

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