As each situation is unique, the amount of time required to finalize an order may vary depending on numerous factors. So you may be thinking, How long does it take to get child support? Providing as much detail as you can upfront will minimize the time needed for your case. An Orland Park child support attorney will know more about your unique situation and guide you through the child support process.
What is Child Support?
Child support, also known as child maintenance, is a recurrent payment made by one parent for the financial benefit of the child following the termination of a marriage or some other similar relationship. The ordered party typically pays this directly or indirectly to the entitled person in charge of taking care and providing support to the children due to this ended/non-existent relationship.
Commonly, it is the non-custodial parent that needs to make child support payments. Usually, the entitled individual is thought to be a custodial parent, caregiver, or guardian. This is why the court has established a system for separating parents whose financial responsibility for the well-being of their children is at stake.
Locate Your Child's Other Parent
To get a court order for child support of a minor, both parents must be located in order to serve papers. However, there is no guarantee that they will be found, so the more detailed the records we have, the easier it will become for a child support office.
If you have been served with an Order to Show Cause as to why you should not be held in contempt of court for failure to pay past due support, you may request DNA tests for paternity establishment or marriage records showing that the parents were legally wed when the baby was born as an acknowledgment of paternity. You don't need to ask for proof of legal fatherhood if you're already legally considered to be the parent and you have a child support obligation that needs to be met.
Agreeing to the Terms of Child Support Payments
If parents reach an amicable settlement through negotiation or mediation, one of their attorneys will draft a formal document. This document may be referred to as a "settlement," "agreed judgment," or "decree." If child support is included in a dissolution of marriage, it may be referred to as either a "judgment" or "order." A child support agency can also help once you prove a list of things: social security, debit cards, direct deposit slips, birth certificates, and genetic testing. Genetic testing will be used to help if there are paternity doubts. Some child support agencies offer this genetic testing.
Before entering into an agreement with a parent regarding custody and visitation rights, the court must first approve the agreement. The court will then determine whether the terms comply with state laws on custody and visitation. A formal court proceeding will take place at some point, but there may be an informal meeting first where the judge asks questions to ensure everyone understands the terms of the settlement.
If the judge is satisfied that the agreement is fair, then he/she will usually approve it during the child support agreement. The agreement is considered fair when the following are met:
- The divorce settlement was fairly negotiated.
- It was entered into willingly.
- They don't conflict with state laws.
Altering Child Support Payments
If either party files a modification petition, they must do so in the same county and state where the original judgment was entered. However, if one of the parties has relocated from the jurisdiction, you should consult an attorney to determine whether the ordering court will change.
If there is a need to alter the child support order, you will need to explain why there has been a significant change in your situation since the last time you were ordered to pay child support. If brought on unreasonably, this can create a custody dispute. Both parents will be required to provide financial affidavits and supporting documents about their current incomes, assets, debts, etc.
The court will then set a hearing on the modification application. Both parties will receive notice of the date and will have the right to attend and make submissions about the proposed changes. The court will then decide whether to approve the modifications based on the evidence presented. Either party can appeal the ruling within a certain timeframe. Both parents should be given a copy of the court order, and either one of them may file an appeal within a specified period of time.
Modifications Agreements/Adjustments for parents
You and the other party are always free to agree upon changes in the amount of child-support payments. However, you must present your agreements to a court for approval before they can be incorporated into an official court document. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing legal issues. For example:
- Even though you may agree to a lesser amount and you are the one paying child support, you are still responsible for the full amount ordered by the court. You might be subject to child custody enforcement actions for any unpaid portion.
- If you are using an income deduction/withholding arrangement with your employer, your employer may not change your withholdings without a court ruling.
- If the parent that pays child support pays for something informally and agrees to pay more than he/she actually needs to pay, then the recipient cannot force him/her to adhere to that informal contract.
How Long Does It Take To Start Receiving Child Support Payments?
Typically, a person who is obligated to pay child support will send an Income Withholding for Support document to their employer. The employer will then have to comply within 14 business days of receiving the document. While there can be some delays in this process, payments can start being received between 2-4 weeks time.
It’s always good to keep track of your child’s child support services obligation expenses so you know when they’re due. However, don’t expect to get paid for them right away. If you experience any of these situations, you may be able to file an application for reimbursement.
You may need to take into account your personal finances when making the decision about when to start receiving payment. If you're in a rush to get your first child support payment, consider saying you want it to start immediately instead of waiting until the next pay period. Your family law attorney should be able to outline this child support process for you.
How are Child Support Payments Decided?
Payments for child support are determined by a variety of factors.
1. Income. The first thing that happens at the beginning of every child custody services case is that both parties (noncustodial included) exchange and submit their incomes to the court. This includes:
- Recent W-2 form
- Pay stubs showing hourly rates, salaries, hours, and tax exemptions (debit card)
- Any other documentation showing income, including salaries, overtime pay, tips and gratuities, payments from an IRA, rentals, bonuses, commission, or any other money earned by all jobs. (debit card/credit card/direct deposit/birth certificate/social security/bank accounts/bank statement). If a parent (noncustodial parent included) does not have a social security number they will have to sign a "No social security number declaration".
If either parent is self-employed then the courts will look at their personal and business taxes to see if they earn enough money to pay child support. The noncustodial parent is responsible for payments. If a judge determines that a noncustodial parent is deliberately not working, or is voluntarily unemployed (i.e., has chosen not to work), the judge may calculate what the parent would earn if he/she were using his/her educational and employment skills appropriately and then will use that figure as the parent’s earnings for purposes of calculating child support.
2. Dependents. Custodial parents who share time with their kids may be asked to provide information regarding their dependents. If one of them has other kids and is legally required to pay child support for them, the court will take this into account when determining the outcome of any other child support case involving these parents.
3. Child-related expenses. These include things such as child care, education, clothing, food, transportation, medical bills, and so forth. In order to determine how much money should be paid to the custodial parent, the courts utilize an algorithm that takes into account the total expenses incurred by the custodial parent during the month. The court then determines what percentage of those expenses can be attributed to the noncustodial parent and factors it into the payments.
4. Health Insurance Costs. If you're responsible for paying for your children's health insurance premiums, you may get a credit against your monthly obligation if you can prove that you've been making regular payments toward their coverage.
What If The Other Parent Does Not Cooperate With Child Support?
If the other parents refuse to cooperate with a court order for payment of their children’s expenses, they may face serious consequences. A court order will require them to pay up. It may take some time to figure out where they are employed, but once that information is found, they will need to prove that they actually earned the money they claim. You also may be able to send a letter saying that someone could go to prison if they don't pay their debts.
If a parent doesn't follow through with their child support obligations under an agreed-upon parenting plan, they could be held legally responsible for any resulting financial penalties. You may be able to take them to court to get the debt repaid.
The CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) processes paperwork as swiftly as possible. If someone (biological father or mother) refuses to cooperate with a child support enforcement agency it can be a long process with unpaid child support.
Contact an Experienced Child Support Attorney Today!
Contact Tommalieh Law: Family & Divorce Lawyers for a free case review about your child support action, child support laws, and how child support proceedings will go. Call (708) 232-0017 to discuss child support amounts, your child support agreement, and child support modifications with a lawyer today.
Know your child support rights if you are having custody issues and get help for your amazing children. Being a single mother or father can be difficult but it can be easier with Tommalieh Law, call today.