Q: What are the guidelines for child support in Illinois?
A: Effective July 1, 2017, Illinois moved from calculating child support as a flat percentage of the payor’s net income based on the number of minor children to an "Income Shares” model under which child support is determined based upon the combined income of both parents and the number of minor children, then divided amongst the parents based upon their respective share of the total income. To put it simply, the more total income the two parents have, the more the combined child support obligation will be and the split of that obligation between the two parents will be proportional to their respective incomes. For example, if the total child support obligation is $2,000 and the parent who the children live with primarily earns 40% of the combined income, then the payor’s child support payment to the recipient will be $1,200 ($2,000 x 60%). There are further complexities to the calculation such as an adjustment to the formula for parents with equal or nearly equal parenting time, a factoring of the cost of the children’s health insurance and alternate approaches to the adjustment from gross income to after-tax net income. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney with training and experience in implementing the new Illinois child support law.
Q: Can I get my child support obligation modified because of the new “income shares” child support law?
A: Not simply because of the new law’s existence, no. The new child support law contains a provision which provides that the new law, in and of itself, does not constitute a basis for modification of an existing child support order. However, if you can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since your child support obligation was set under the old law (for example, if your income has decreased significantly or the child support recipient’s income has increased significantly), you may be able to obtain a child support modification calculated under the new law. While every circumstance is unique, the child support payor’s obligation has usually been found to be less under the new law than the old law.
Q: How much will my retainer be?
A: We cannot tell you this until we meet with you and learn about the details of your case. We quote retainers to potential clients based on how complex their case appears to be. For example, the retainer for a young married couple in a low conflict divorce who have no children together and own no real estate will be less than a highly contested divorce with complicating factors like the ownership of a business, interstate jurisdiction issues or allegations of substance abuse. It is always possible to shop around for an attorney who will let your case in for a smaller retainer, but very small retainers are often indicative of limited experience or overburdened dockets which may impact an attorney’s ability to be responsive to you while your case is going on.
Q: How much will my case “cost?” Also, do you work for a Flat Fee?
It is impossible for us to predict the total cost of a case. This depends on many factors, including the parties themselves as well as their goals and expectations. If one or both of the parties to a case are overly contentious or have unrealistic goals, the case will cost much more than if both parties behave amicably and can agree on the broad outline of how the case will be resolved early on in the process. The Law Offices of Stuart A. Reid, P.C. usually charges for work on an hourly basis. There are a few situations in which we do flat fee work, such as Prenuptial Agreements and uncontested name changes.
Q: Can I get an annulment?
The answer to this question is “probably not.” Annulments (or a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage as they are referred to under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act), are only available in Illinois under extremely narrow and specific fact patterns which apply to very few people. An annulment is only available under the following circumstances: (1) one of the parties to the marriage lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage at the time it was solemnized (such as if they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or were under duress), (2) a party to the marriage lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse at the time of the marriage and the other party was not aware of this incapacity, (3) a party to the marriage was 16 or 17 years old and did not have parental consent or judicial approval to marry or (4) the marriage is otherwise prohibited (for example, if the two parties share a prohibited degree of familial interrelation or if one of the parties is already married). It appears some people have come to believe that it is “easier” to get an annulment than to get a divorce. In Illinois anyway, that is rarely the case.
Stuart represented me very professionally in and out of court, working a difficult divorce through to a reasonable conclusion. He is well connected in the legal community, so was able to easily reach out to opposing attorneys to discuss case resolution. You can depend on him to represent you well. However, the thing that made Stuart extra special was "how" he did this. He was always available, always proposed different approaches to take, balancing strengths and weaknesses of the case. I always felt that Stuart had my best interests in mind, not his. In fact, several times he proposed ways to save me legal fees. I have seen him effectively flex his style from "looking for resolution" to "going aggressive" depending on what I felt was the right thing to do. His default is to get things settled and wrapped up quickly, minimizing disruption to the family. I really appreciated this. When I needed to come back to court for child custody adjustment discussions, I did not hesitate to re-hire Stuart, and would do so again, if needed. At a minimum, I recommend you sit down with Stuart to discuss your case and make your own decision.
Stuart is by far a fantastic attorney and I cannot speak more highly of him. Throughout my entire divorce, Stuart was able to explain everything to me and guide me in the right direction. He was 100% honest the entire time. I completely trust him and his expertise. His office staff is also fantastic. I felt as though he had my best interest in mind the whole time. I never felt taken advantage of or pushed to make decisions that I did not want to make. I highly recommend Stuart Reid!
I was really impressed with Mr. Reid's knowledge of the Law, and most of all his temperament to identify best options during my divorce case. He's very balanced and has an acute sense of fairness, yet very vigilant and protective of his clients. I liked the fact he always put the kids first, and was able to open himself up to frank conversations so I could see the long-term/big picture, which would benefit the children, myself, and even my ex, who's after all the mother of my kids. I found his approach very family sensitive and effective. He also has a very helpful and committed staff, which helps a lot when it comes to move things forward in hectic times. So, in looking back, I'm very thankful I was able to cross path with such a fine professional, Stuart Reid.
I would recommend Attorney Reid to anyone. He is smart, fair, level headed, comes prepared to court, and the judges respect him. He treats his clients as individuals - not just case numbers. I am grateful with how he's handled my court issues in the past and how each entered order is a result of his diligence. Stuart has been my attorney for years. He knows family law and in my opinion, he's the best attorney in Lake County.
I chose Stuart to handle my divorce based on a positive online review and he more than lived up to his billing. He always sought to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement, clearly explained terms in English rather than legalese, and brought the case to a prompt close without creating an antagonistic atmosphere. I particularly appreciated how he handled documentation electronically rather than swamping me with reams of paper. With his professionalism and truly caring manner, Stuart helped make a very difficult time much easier to bear. I would not hesitate to use him again and would recommend him to anyone seeking top-notch legal counsel.
Stuart handled my divorce last year and did an outstanding job. It was over quickly and efficiently, with no issues. He communicated well on all legal matters, and provided helpful advice. I recommend him without reservation.
Stuart is a great attorney! If you are shopping around for a lawyer, do not simply assume that a large law firm will have your best interests at heart. I know that many people have disdain for attorneys in general, but they have not met Stuart Reid. His advice is always spot-on, and he has saved me a tremendous amount of money.
Stuart is a very professional and knowledgeable attorney. I have retained his services on two different occasions and have had a very successful outcome for both. I plan on calling for his services again in the future and will continue to refer him to those I know.
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- Lake County Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County