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IL family lawyerIf you are a parent who is divorced or never married, you know how impossible it can feel to afford a decent standard of living for yourself and your child without any financial support from your child’s other parent. The rising cost of living and inflation in Illinois can make paying for food, shelter, clothing, and educational costs very difficult.

Child support orders are an important legal tool for getting the financial help you need. However, it can take some time between when a parent asks for child support and when a child support order is put in place. When this happens, Illinois courts can award child support retroactively to cover the period between when the child support request was filed and when child support payments began.

Establishing Paternity and Child Support

Establishing paternity is especially important for parents who have never been married because Illinois cannot order a man to pay child support if he is not the child’s legal father. Mothers who need child support may want to involve the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to get help establishing paternity. Paternity can also be established through a court order.

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IL divorce lawyerAnyone who has written a prenuptial agreement before getting married knows that negotiations can be tough. Both partners want good things for each other, but they must also look out for their own best interests in the future. Sometimes, negotiating a prenup can be so challenging that couples may feel as if they are negotiating a divorce before the marriage even starts.

Because prenuptial agreements take hard work and compromise, it is extremely important to make sure that they are legally enforceable if a couple does get divorced. Unfortunately, many couples spend time painstakingly writing a prenup only to get a nasty surprise during divorce proceedings: The prenup is unenforceable and gets thrown out by a judge. If you are considering writing a prenup with your spouse, here are three big mistakes to avoid.

Coercion or Duress

Each partner must agree to the contents of the prenuptial agreement and sign of their own free will. If a fiance coerces, blackmails, or threatens their partner to secure a signature, the prenup could be considered invalid. If one partner presents the other partner with a prenuptial agreement shortly before the wedding and makes the wedding contingent on their fiance signing the prenup, that could be considered coercion. Couples can avoid this by creating a prenup together, having it reviewed by their own attorneys, and signing the prenup well before the wedding.

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IL family lawyerMany things keep parents of young children awake at night, but few worries are more stressful than the fear of being unable to financially provide. Unfortunately, many parents are worried about money because their child’s other parent refuses to make court-ordered child support payments. If you are in this situation, you know how frustrating it can be; fortunately, there are strategies that can help you recover unpaid child support and get future payments back on track.

Make Sure Your Child Support Order is Enforceable

Many parents who have never been married set up an unofficial arrangement for child support payments. Although this may seem easier than going to court, it actually can result in more complex challenges later on if a parent decides to stop paying. Before you can take measures to get unpaid child support, you have to have a legally enforceable court order. This involves establishing paternity if you have not already done so, and then going to an Illinois family court to petition for child support based on state guidelines.

Get the State Involved

If you have a legally enforceable court order for child support, you can ask the state and federal government to help you get paid. Illinois can restrict a non-paying parent’s driver’s license, suspend professional licenses, submit the failure to pay child support to credit reporting agencies, and even bring criminal charges. Both the Illinois Department of Revenue and the federal Internal Revenue Service allow money to be withheld from tax returns when child support is unpaid.

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