Child Custody Arrangements Versus Child Support

While child custody arrangements and child support impact one another, legally, they are separate concepts. A parent still has visitation rights even if child support is delayed or has not been paid. This is an obligation that should still be followed by the residential parent, despite the frustration they may experience from a lack of financial support.

Per Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the residential parent is typically entitled to child support from the non-custodial parent.  A common misconception is that child support does not apply in joint custody scenarios.  Joint custody is a legal principle and does not impact whether there is a designated residential parent, who would most likely receive child support. Child support is calculated according to percentage guidelines as set forth by statute.

A lot of residential parents tend to find themselves in a bind with regard to child support at one time or another.  Whether due to unforeseen circumstances such as job loss or intentional withholding on behalf of the non-custodial parent, withholding visitation rights is not the appropriate way to resolve the situation.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, things are not typically cut and dry when dealing with family law. When dealing with delinquent child support, there are proper channels to go through. Typically this involves filing motions and petitions against the obligor. There is a systematic way to deal with it. With issues as sensitive as child support and visitation rights, it would behoove you to seek legal counsel and not take matters into your own hands. We know it may not seem fair, and in many instances it’s not, but failing to do so, may result in an even more costly and lengthy journey in court.

Some elements to consider when establishing the residential aspect of child custody arrangements are the age of the child(ren), distance between each parent’s homes, the relationship the child has with both parents, including extended families, where the child(ren) attend school, extracurricular activities and any history of abuse are just a few of the key factors to consider.

Lastly, the best divorce attorneys in Chicago will tell you child support is often assessed separate from contribution to other child-related expenses. Child-related expenses such as childcare, insurance, activity fees, and school fees may be addressed above and beyond a child support calculation. Family law can be complex, so make sure you hire a reputable, knowledgeable attorney to represent you.

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