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DuPage County child support attorneyMany parents do not realize the amount of money it actually takes to raise a child. When child support payments become a part of your monthly expenses, you may find yourself in a financial predicament. Child support is designed to help a child with unmarried or divorced unmarried parents to enjoy the same quality of life that he or she would have with married parents. In Illinois, child support amounts are determined by analyzing each parent’s income, employment, health, and other factors. If you cannot afford your court-ordered child support, read on to learn about what your next steps should be.

Never Stop Child Support Payments Without Notification

Illinois takes child support nonpayment very seriously. If you cannot afford your child support, never simply stop payments. Missing payments or paying only partial amounts can result in significant negative consequences. Parents who fail to pay their support payments in Illinois can have their wages or bank accounts garnished, tax returns intercepted, a lien placed against their property, and their driver’s license suspended or revoked. In severe cases of child support nonpayment, parents can face passport denial and even criminal prosecution. Parents who own $5000 or more in past-due support can also have their name and photograph posted on the “Illinois Deadbeat Parent” website.

File a Request for a Child Support Modification

If you are a parent who cannot afford your current support obligation, your first step should be to notify the person who receives your support. Next, file a “Petition to Modify Support,” with the county court. Modifications to child support obligations are only granted if there is a good reason for the court to change the order.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are a parent, you should always want what is best for your child, even it means making certain sacrifices. The law also provides you with particular rights and responsibilities in regard to your child. In the wake of a divorce, exercising your parental rights may be especially difficult if the other parent is given the majority of the parenting time and most of the authority for decision-making. When your ex-spouse gets remarried, the challenges may become even greater, particularly if his or her new spouse expresses the desire to legally adopt your child.

A Stepparent Adoption Usually Requires Your Approval

In most situations, your ex’s new husband or wife cannot adopt your child unless you voluntarily consent to the adoption. If you agree to the adoption, you also agree have your parental rights and responsibilities regarding your child terminated. According to Illinois law, a person may have only two legal parents. As such, an adoption by a stepparent is more than a formality; it creates a legal parent-child relationship between the stepparent and your child, giving the stepparent all of the authority and responsibilities that were once yours.

It is up to you to decide whether to give your consent when a stepparent is looking to adopt your child. If you approve the proposed adoption, you relinquish your standing to ask for visitation or to make decisions about your child’s life. Depending upon the situation, your former partner and his or her new spouse may allow you to continue your relationship with your child, but once the adoption is finalized, they are under no legal obligation to do so. As far the court is concerned, you are no longer the child’s parent, regardless of what a DNA test would show.

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Naperville child custody lawyerThere is little question about the difficulty of parenting after a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you have been given significantly less parenting time than your child’s other parent, maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child can be even more challenging. But, what happens if the other parent convinces the court to restrict or limit your parenting time even further? An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what options you may have and work with you in taking the steps to restore your parental rights.

Grounds for the Restriction of Parenting Time

The governing principle of Illinois family law regarding children and parenting responsibilities is always to serve the child’s best interests. In doing so, the court begins with the presumption that active participation by both parents is best for the child, and, therefore, will allocate parenting time to each parent based on the family’s circumstances. Your parenting time cannot be restricted unless the other parent can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your behavior or lifestyle seriously endangers your child. These dangers can be to child’s mental, moral, or physical health, as well as to his or her emotional development.

Types of Restrictions

In the most extreme situations, your right to parenting time may be suspended completely, but the court will usually try to avoid taking such measures. Instead, your time with your child may be reduced or limited to certain physical locations. Additionally, the court could determine that you may only exercise your parenting time under supervision by the other parent or a third party. Other restrictions may include keeping certain people away from your child, required abstinence from drugs or alcohol immediately prior to and during your parenting time, and any other limitations the court finds to be appropriate.

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