Illinois Child Support Online
If you're going through an Illinois divorce with children, one of your primary concerns is how much child support you will receive or the amount you'll need to pay. There are an increasing number of online tools that can help you through this process. However, consider the following tips before you rely on online child support calculators.
Parenting Time Must Be Determined First
In Illinois, the amount of child support is generally calculated by determining the total financial support required for the children involved and then allocating that amount between the parents based on their income and the amount of time the children spend with each parent. However, since it is tied to time-sharing (aka visitation), child support cannot be accurately determined until parenting time is decided, either by the divorcing couple or a court order. For this reason, resolving parenting time should be a priority issue.
Online Child Support Calculators are Rough Estimates
The Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services offers a free calculator for determining child support online, and private companies offer similar calculators. These online child support payment calculators can be useful tools, but they have several shortcomings. They are only as good as the information entered, and you may not know the answers to every question or even understand every question. Additionally, they are only designed to provide generally applicable, rough estimates and may not be accurate in your situation.
At Birt Law, we use a more accurate program to calculate child support. The program considers factors like deductions and other expenses that are considered when courts calculate child support. The program, coupled with our Illinois family law experience, helps us provide a more accurate child support estimate. Using an attorney to help you determine parental time-sharing and child support saves you the time, expense, and stress of having to redo proposed plans because a judge rejects them.
Useful Online Tools for Co-Parenting
While we caution you to think carefully before calculating child support online, there are online tools that can be of use to parents going through a divorce. These include online payment tools, an online calendar for parenting time (visitation), and online expense trackers.
Electronic payments are a quick and effective mechanism for making direct child support payments and having a clear record to track them. Making child support payments directly is often preferred and is particularly helpful when the paying parent is self-employed, between jobs, catching up on arrears, or paying extra for child-related expenses or college savings. However, if payments are not made on time, courts in Illinois routinely order income withholding from the paying parent's paycheck.
Online parenting time calendars can help parents develop a time-sharing plan, get a visual view of the plan, and track and make adjustments as needed. Some online calendars also offer other tools to help with co-parenting, like parental messaging, expense tracking, journals, and storage of key child information like health summaries. There are multiple options for online time-sharing calendars, including Talking Parents and OurFamilyWizard.
Birt Law for Custody and other Divorce Services
At Birt Law, we are at the cutting edge of Illinois divorce law firm solutions. We provide custom services tailored to each client's legal needs that range from limited representation in “kitchen table divorces” to full-scale divorce representation.
If you are looking for an Illinois divorce attorney to help you in a divorce with children, contact us today here or at (630) 891-2478.