Our Goal is to Help Our Clients

Efficiently & Effectively

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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 that states 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?

A:

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?

A:

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 that 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.